“The Experience Is Great, I Have Talked To A Bunch Of Teams” | NC State Slugger LuJames “Gino” Groover Prepping For 2023 MLB Draft
When NC State slugger LuJames Groover aka “Gino” made the decision to transfer from UNC Charlotte to NC State. He did so with the belief he needed to face stiffer competition to prepare himself for the majors.
He was enticed by the Wolfpack’s proven track record for developing MLB talent and that played a major role in Groover making the move following his successful season for the 49ers where he batted .351 in 205 plate appearances.
The move to Raleigh seems to have paid off for the sweet-swinging power hitter. Gino stepped up his game as the competition elevated and torched quality ACC pitching to the tune of .364 with 16 doubles, 10 home runs and 47 RBI in his 274 plate appearances. Known for his ability to spray the ball over the outfield, Groover’s bat caught the eye of many major league teams, with most deeming him a top-five hitter and a very early-round selection in the upcoming July draft.
There is currently ONE… JUST ONE… draft-eligible hitter in D1 College Baseball with a K% under 9% and an average exit velocity on balls in play over 92 mph.
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) April 5, 2023
Groover Is Taking The Process In Stride
During his current junior season with the Wolfpack he’s batting, .328 on 238 plate appearances along with 43 RBI and 10 homers. He’s also been walked an ACC-high 33 times, as pitchers look to avoid him.
Prior to the season, in an interview with Baseball Prospect Journal, Groover talked about how he’s handling all the noise surrounding him being one of the top hitters and MLB prospects.
“The experience is great,” Groover said. “I have talked to a bunch of teams. It’s really for them to get to know you, and I like to say I’m a lot more than just a baseball player. It’s an opportunity.”
What impresses scouts about Groover is hit ability to put bat-to-ball, and his ability to drive the baseball to all parts of the field. As for his hitting prowess, Groover says he’s always been a hitter, and that he’s worked tirelessly on becoming a complete hitter.
“I have always been able to hit. I learned how to hit at a young age, and I’m growing into my power. It is becoming more consistent. I think that is where I am going to take off. I’ve worked on it, developed it and became consistent with it.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
⚾️ LuJames Groover III, @NCStateBaseball
— ACC Baseball (@ACCBaseball) April 17, 2023
Position Switch Has Been Great For Groover
After primarily playing first base at UNC Charlotte, Groover moved to third base upon his arrival with the Wolfpack, and he was magnificent on the hot corner. Displaying range and instincts unbeknownst to most.
“Defensively, I have been at third, and a lot of people probably never seen me over there,”Groover said. “But it is where I’ve spent my whole life, so I think I’m going to turn some heads this year on the defensive end.”
The 6-foot-2- and 215-pound Groover, has continued his strong defensive play at third, pretty much solidifying his position at the next level. Groover is ranked No. 45 on the MLB Draft prospect rankings. MLBbro,com projects him as an early second-round pick in the upcoming draft.