This past spring fans were able to see Ryan McBroom of the WVU baseball team put on a hitting clinic. Now fans in The Great White North are able to witness the power-hitting first baseman as a member of the Vancouver Canadians.
After being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of June’s MLB Draft, McBroom was assigned to the Canadians, the Blue Jays Short Season minor league affiliate.
His manager, Josh Schneider, was happy when McBroom walked in the clubhouse on June 19, as it gave him a much needed power threat in the middle of the lineup.
“He has six of our 14 team home runs so far. He’s a really aggressive hitter and I think once everybody sees him, they will adjust their approach to him,” Schneider says. “Depending on how he adjusts, if his approach continues to be what it is, his numbers will stay pretty consistent to where they are now.”
Through 35 professional games McBroom is raking, leading the team in batting average (.338) and home runs (6), while ranking second in doubles (12) and RBI (34). Those numbers also are some of the top in the Northwest League, as he is second in RBI, fourth in batting average, fourth in doubles and fifth in home runs.
McBroom credits the success to playing his final two seasons in the Big 12, facing quality arms nightly.
“There are some guys with raw talent, and there are some guys with polished talent. We’re seeing the Friday and Saturday guys from the Big 12 everyday,” McBroom says. “Everyone has a live arm, and I’m taking advantage of seeing some more fastballs than I did in college.”
The high batting average is often a pleasant surprise for a cleanup hitter, and it is a carryover from the 2014 collegiate season that saw McBroom finish third in the Big 12 with a .341 batting average, a 73-point increase from his .268 batting average in 2013.
“In this day and age with on-base percentage in baseball being stressed, it’s really going to help him,” Schneider says. “Any good hitter, whether you’re a power hitter or not, you have a good two-strike approach and you’re not just up there falling over swinging for the fences. That’s going to help him if he can keep his average where it is and keep producing power wise. It will be fun to watch.”
Most West Virginia fans were familiar with his defensive prowess at first base, usually an overlooked position. Defense is something McBroom has taken pride in and Schneider notices that.
“He throws very well to second base, just seeing him start 3-6-3 double plays. He has a good glove, but his feet around the bag are really good. He can adjust to a bad throw and he has helped out our infielders on questionable throws,” Schneider says. “Having a guy like him there, from a manager’s standpoint, it puts you at ease to know that if the ball is thrown in the area, he will make it work. It’s a luxury to have because not every club has a first baseman that is as defensive orientated as Ryan is.”
After getting drafted in 2013 by the Kansas City Royals and declining a contract offer, McBroom notices how much it helped him by returning for his senior season at West Virginia.
“It benefitted a lot; I got my degree and I played another year under Coach (Randy) Mazey and his coaching staff,” McBroom says. “We made another good run this year, it didn’t end up how we wanted it to, but it was one of the best decisions of my life to go back to school and have a senior year like I did.”
Now as McBroom enters the second half of his first full professional season, he is looking to lead the streaking Canadians to the playoffs.