Meet New Jersey’s newest major leaguers
Barnegat High School's Jason Groome was picked 12th by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft Thursday.
Also joining the major leagues: Jackson Memorial graduate Matt Thaiss was picked 16th by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Groome, who returned to Barnegat for his senior year, told the Shore Sports Network it was "a crazy feeling hearing my name called" by the Boston Red Sox, his favorite team. “I had no clue. They said my name. I was texting a friend back at my cousin’s house and all of a sudden I hear my name. It was such an awesome experience.”
"He's got really good stuff," Red Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard in a statement. "He's got a big fastball, a good curveball and he can throw his changeup for strikes as well. He's a big, durable guy, and he's got a nice delivery. He throws the ball easy and he's a strike thrower as well, so we do see him as a starter."
Groome returned to Barnegat for his senior year after transferring to IMG Acacdemy in Bradenton, Florida during his junior year.
Matt Thaiss, a catcher for the University of Virginia, was equally excited about his selection by the Angels.
“I was nervous all day. I actually went golfing to keep my mind off of it. I had no idea it was coming until a couple of seconds before the pick was announced. (General manager Billy Eppler) called me and said, ‘Welcome to the Angels.’ Emotions are still running high. It’s surreal.” he told the Shore Sports Network.
He was home in Jackson for the draft along with his high school coach Frank Malta and pitching coach J.M. Gold.
Millville's Mike Trout also plays for the Angels.
Kevin Williams and Matt Manley contributed to this report