MOOSIC — From the outside looking in, it would seem like Ryan McBroom’s season has been a rocky one.
In fact, it’s quite the contrary. At least that’s how McBroom sees it.
Despite his .294 batting average, eight home runs and a team-leading 29 RBI, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders first baseman has been sent up and down between Moosic and Double-A Trenton twice this season, all coming in the month of June.
But McBroom has kept grinding and hasn’t let the almost-constant changes in scenery get the best of him. And it has shown at the plate, batting .303 with 15 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 39 RBI in 71 games between the two levels.
“I’ve always had to prove myself regardless of where I’ve been,” McBroom said. “I’ve just had to prove to everybody that I can play the game and, most importantly, prove to myself that I can play at any level. It’s been a smooth road to be honest with you. Although it doesn’t look like it from the outside, from the inside it is.
“It’s kind of just the same game no matter where you go, so I just stay even-keeled,” McBroom added. “I know I have a job to do where ever I’m at so it’s just the same mentality.”
While McBroom admits that his first demotion to Double-A on June 1 hit him hard, he was able to quickly get past it. In part because it was just another opportunity for him to prove himself.
RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell believes that McBroom’s been able to continue finding success despite the constant change between levels because his confidence level has grown and he’s improved.
McBroom was batting .204 on April 21. In the 57 games since? He’s batting .327 with 14 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 34 RBI.
“He’s done a better job (at staying even-keeled). Plus he’s gotten better — no doubt about it,” Mitchell said. “I think he’s knowing the strike zone better, which gives him a better chance of getting good pitches to hit. He’s still aggressive though. His swing is good. He impacts the ball a lot, you know? And when he does, and when he’s swinging well, he’s going to get his hits. I think that confidence level has built over the course of the season, which is huge.
“We’re happy to have him back. he’s important for us.”
But having to prove himself is nothing new for McBroom.
It first stems from high school when he had to prove to a new coach that he could play at a high-school level. Then he had to do it again in college — but with a twist.
McBroom went to West Virginia primarily as a pitcher. While he hit and pitched as a freshman, it wasn’t until his sophomore year when he really took on the task of being an everyday player. Once he succeeded at West Virginia and got drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, McBroom had to show his mettle once again.
“I’ve had to prove myself whether it’s Little League, to high school, to college, to here,” McBroom said. “I’ve always had to prove myself and just play the game.”
During this whole process, McBroom has done his best to just focus of what’s going on between the lines.
He doesn’t question things when he’s sent down. He just keeps playing baseball, even if that’s tough to do.
“I don’t ask questions of why I’m in a certain spot,” McBroom said. “I kind of just go out and compete every day. As hard as that is to do sometimes, I just force myself to go out and compete and bring the competitive side out of me and play with a chip on my shoulder — always. I never (don’t) have it and that’s what I continue to do.”
Now that he’s back with the RailRiders, McBroom is working to be an impact player. He hit a double in his first game back Friday night, and was robbed of another extra-base hit when Pawtucket Red Sox center fielder Cole Sturgeon made a grab at the wall.
With Tyler Austin placed on the disabled list on Friday, McBroom becomes the everyday first baseman and clean-up hitter for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At least until Mike Ford comes back from the DL. When that happens, McBroom should see some time in the outfield.
But even if he gets sent back down to Double-A Trenton again, which could be to see everyday playing time at first base, McBroom is going to stay balanced and keep grinding. Because at the end of the day, it’s just baseball.
“You have to go out with the same mentality. I just kind of keep it within and say to myself, ‘It really doesn’t matter where you’re at,’ ” McBroom said. “You have to perform, you have to play the same game you’ve always played.’ That’s kind of the mentality I’ve had the past year.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle