January 7, 2015
One of the stars of the 2014 Vancouver Canadians’ campaign was first base prospect Ryan McBroom. The 2014 15th round draft pick was relatively unheralded when selected out of West Virginia University, but it didn’t take long before his name became well known after posting an excellent .341/.404/.512 slash line over 70 games in Vancouver.
The Blue Jays were fortunate the 22-year-old decided to go back to school to finish college, which involved majoring in sport and exercise psychology, instead of signing with the Royals when selected a year before.
“Being selected by the Blue Jays was a special moment for my family and I. Since last year going in a later round I chose to go back to school for my senior year, get my degree, and finish college on a positive note,” stated McBroom who was originally selected in the 36th round of the 2013 draft by the Royals. “I was able to polish up my skills during my senior year and was lucky enough to get picked up by an amazing organization like the Blue Jays.”
Quickly signing his professional contract in June, McBroom joined the Vancouver Canadians for their season opener. The young first baseman appeared in all 70 regular season games for the C’s batting .297 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs, and 59 RBIs.
My power is a work in progress. I am figuring myself out as a player.
“From what I heard prior to joining professional baseball, Vancouver is the top minor league city you can play in, so after spending my summer there, I was able to experience things I’ve only seen on TV,” said McBroom. “I was extremely lucky to be placed in Vancouver, as a first year player. I had a great summer, playing for great coaches.”
One of those great coaches McBroom spoke highly of is Vancouver Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano, who didn’t just serve as McBroom’s first professional hitting coach, but as a mentor that gave great advice for the young prospect moving forward.
“Pano was one of the most consistent coaches I have ever played for,” stated McBroom. “He was constantly trying to develop my swing in the hopes of extending my baseball career later down the road and I will be forever grateful for all he was able to do for me.”
McBroom’s 34 extra base hits didn’t go unnoticed as he led his team in home runs and was tied for first in doubles with shortstop Franklin Barreto, which explains why the Virginia native had the highest slugging percentage on the team at .502.
With a major emphasis on power for a first baseman at the major league level, McBroom describes his power as a work in progress which isn’t surprising for a minor leaguer. With an unspoken rule that people expect major league first baseman to hit 30 or more home runs a year, McBroom is excited for the kind of hitter he has the ability to develop into over the next couple years.
“My power is a work in progress. I am figuring myself out as a player and hitting for power is becoming my identity as a professional,” explained McBroom. “I understand that first basemen are expected to be power hitters and I’m taking the concept to heart of turning into a guy that produces runs by hitting homers. I am more than excited to put in the work to do just that.”
Even though McBroom is an exciting young hitter, he’s very proud of his defense as he feels it is an area you have to exceed at to make it to the highest level of play. McBroom was a great fielder all season in Vancouver committing just four errors in 616 chances, maintaining an excellent .994 fielding percentage. His fielding numbers are stats that the 22-year old first baseman takes a lot of pride in.
“I was always told if you can play defense, you can play in the big leagues,” explained McBroom. “I have always prided myself on being an above-average fielder. Plus playing defense is something I’ve always enjoyed doing even growing up as a kid.”
Currently in his first professional off-season, McBroom is preparing for spring training. The young prospect doesn’t have any expectations for what his first spring training will have in store for him, but he is definitely focused on a busy off-season routine to be in the best physical shape possible for spring.
“I don’t have any expectations for spring training besides getting back to baseball and having fun all while toning and developing my game,” stated McBroom. “I will also be looking forward to seeing my friends again.”
“Lifting and conditioning are some things I will be doing this off-season to stay in shape. Another thing I will be doing is getting clean in the kitchen,” he added. “Diet can sometimes separate the average athletes from the elite ones.”
Be sure to follow Ryan McBroom as he continues to be an excellent first base option in the Blue Jays minor league system for years to come with hopes of playing in the show in the near future.