March 17, 2014
Spring training brings excitement for baseball players. It’s an opportunity to showcase all the skills they have worked on during the off-season, and it prepares each player for the eight month grind that comes with playing professional baseball. To say outfielder and first baseman Ryan Scoma is excited to be a part of spring training would be an understatement.
The California native was thrilled when he heard that the Blue Jays wanted to sign him in February.
“When I first got the news I was overwhelmed with excitement,” he said. “I was so happy I was on the verge of tears. I can’t wait for this opportunity to make a team.”
Known as a solid defender with good hand/eye coordination at the plate, it’s easy to see why the Blue Jays were interested in Scoma after his breakout season with the independent league Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2013. While a member of the Goldeyes, Scoma hit .341 with 19 doubles, four home runs and 46 RBI in 293 at-bats.
“I loved Winnipeg. The weather in the summer was outstanding and so were the fans,” Scoma recalls. “We had an A-plus organization from top to bottom. The front office took amazing care of us and most importantly we had a great group of guys.”
The breakout season in Winnipeg earned Scoma Winnipeg’s ‘Hit the Cover Off the Ball’ award honors, an exciting moment for the 26-year-old as he finished third in the league in batting average and his .443 on base percentage was second best in the American Association.
“Winning the award felt great. I couldn’t have done it without the guys supporting me,” he said. “From the coaches to my teammates they gave me all the tools needed to succeed.”
The opportunity to play in the Blue Jays system will be Scoma’s second time in affiliated baseball. Originally a member of the San Francisco Giants organization for three seasons, Scoma appeared in games for the Giants Arizona League, Northwest League, and South Atlantic League affiliates before playing two seasons of independent baseball.
“I loved the Giants. I grew up a Giants fan living in the bay area. I couldn’t have been happier with my time there and the friends I made,” stated Scoma. “However, everything happens for a reason and I’m hoping to become a part of a new family here with the Blue Jays.”
Drafted as an outfielder, Scoma started playing first base in the Giants organization. It was an opportunity he truly enjoyed and said was an easy transition due to the coaching he received from a former big league first baseman.
“When the Giants taught me how to play first, I got to spend a good amount of time with J.T. Snow and it was an unforgettable experience,” stated Scoma. “J.T. knows the position so well and he made it an easy adjustment for me.”
Entering the 2014 season, Scoma has no preference what team he plays on or what position they want him to play, he’s just excited for the opportunity to play every day and is looking forward to helping his team win.
“My biggest goal for 2014 is to help a Blue Jays affiliate win a championship somewhere. I don’t care where, I just hope I’m a part of this club,” stated Scoma. “I love playing all three outfield positions and first base. Wherever the coaches want me to play, I’ll play gladly. I just want to help my team win.”