This pick is noteworthy as Grove missed the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery in June 2017. Not that that stopped the Dodgers from taking Caleb Ferguson in 2014 (albeit in the 38th round) nor Walker Buehler in the first round in 2015.
“We feel very comfortable and confident in our player development and medical staff’s ability to get these pitchers back to where they were,” said Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers’ director of amateur scouting. “The Walker Buehler example is a good one, and we hope to repeat it with Grove.”
Grove was not rated in David Hood’s top 200 draft prospects, though Baseball America ranked him 271st, noting that “pre-injury he was blowing away hitters with a 93-96 mph fastball and a plus breaking ball with above-average control” and calling him a second- or third-round talent.
The 6’3 right-hander posted a 3.13 ERA in his freshman and sophomore seasons combined for West Virginia, with 117 strikeouts and 35 walks in 92 innings.
“A lot of credit goes to our area scout Jonah Rosenthal. He was able to see Grove in both his freshman and sophomore year, and gain some comfortability with his physical ability,” Gasparino said. “Even though he had Tommy John surgery, we were pretty prepared with what kind of pitcher we were getting there.”
Grove was a three-sport athlete in high school, and at West Virginia featured a fastball in the mid-90s and a power slider.
“We felt his talent level matched that pick, and where he was post-Tommy John surgery we felt comfortable,” Gasparino said.
Ooooh baby -- the @Dodgers with a sneaky 2nd round pick. West Virginia RHP Michael Grove. Didn't pitch this year due to TJ.— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) June 5, 2018
Saw him last year. Was 91-94 mph (T95) with a hard, biting slider. Carved through a very good TCU lineup. pic.twitter.com/y7LzGaTKqM
The allotted slot value for the 68th pick is $917,000.