An Interview With Michael Grove

Photo Credit: Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG

This past Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the players who would be included in their player pool during the 2020 season. While this player pool can hold a max of sixty players, the Dodgers only named fifty-one players in their announcement. Of these fifty-one players, twenty-eight are pitchers. One of which is the right-handed Michael Grove.

Michael Grove is native to Wheeling, West Virginia, where he attended high school. During his high school career, Grove was named to a number of regional teams, at one point even being ranked the second-best player in the state by Prep Baseball Report. Grove stayed close to home as he continued his career, attending college at West Virginia University with a major in finance.

In his freshman season, Grove tossed 8.1 innings in a game versus Oklahoma, striking out thirteen batters and earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors for his efforts. He would end up being named to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Team at nineteen years old by season’s end to pair with Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team honors.

In his sophomore season, Grove was named college baseball’s National Player of the Week by the National College Baseball Writer’s Association after taking a perfect game into the eighth inning in a start versus Kansas. Grove again made it to multiple All-Big 12 Teams before his season was cut short due to an arm injury that would hold him out of playing during his junior year. The recovery process lined Grove up to be selected in the second round of the 2018 June Amateur Draft by the Dodgers.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to talk with Grove about his quarantine experience, his past in baseball, and where he is now. A direct transcription of our conversation is written below:

Joel: “Before being drafted in 2018, you were mowing down hitters at WVU, averaging 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. What was your favorite part of the college baseball experience?”

Grove: “My favorite part of college was my teammates, and getting to represent West Virginia. I think my favorite memory, even though, I was hurt, was the regional we went to in 2018.”

Joel: “Although this year is going to be different, how does it feel to have your name mentioned with guys like Clayton Kershaw and know you’ve finally made it to the show after the announcement that you’d be in the Dodgers’ player pool?”

Grove: “It’s such a blessing to have been selected and to be in L.A. with all of those guys. I’m super excited to get to work, and we are all really fortunate just to have a season.”

Joel: “The Coronavirus outbreak has put almost everyone’s lives on hold the past few months. Did you pick up any new hobby or tackle any project during quarantine?”

Grove: “During quarantine, I really just worked out and played a lot of video games…I did get some landscaping work done for my mom, and started playing tennis a couple [of] times a week.”

With his spot in the Dodgers’ player pool secured, there is a decent chance Michael Grove makes his Major League debut two years before the 2022 ETA presented on FanGraphs. Grove is currently ranked as the 14th best prospect in the Dodgers farm system, according to MLB Pipeline.

Arrick Joel has covered the Dodgers since 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @ArrickJoel and follow @DodgersLowDown for more.