Baseball players in the northeast region of the United States sometimes have trouble getting noticed by universities and professional scouts due to the weather and competition level.
Pennsylvania prep left-handed pitcher Mason Ronan is a promising 2018 MLB Draft prospect. But it wasn’t until last year that he started garnering significant pro interest, after a stellar junior season of high school baseball.
Ronan posted a 0.09 ERA and 84 strikeouts, while opposing batters hit just .089 against him in 43 innings in 2016.
Baseball America ranks Ronan as the 42nd-best prep prospect in the 2018 draft class, but he believes players from the northeast don’t always receive the credit they deserve.
“I feel like there’s a stigma for all northeast players,” he said. We’re not always out in good baseball weather so I feel like there’s a biased against us. We get as much work in, if not more, because we have that going against us. There’s a lot of kids that get overlooked up here too.”
Committed to the University of Pittsburgh, Ronan throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, changeup and 12-6 curveball, which he considers his best offering.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound lefty relies on his four-seam fastball, but will mix in his two-seamer on occasion to attack the outsize part of the plate on 0-2 counts against right-handed hitters. His fastballs sit in the low-90s.
“My biggest strength is definitely my competitiveness,” said Ronan, who also plays high school basketball. “I’m athletic and have a lot of upside to me. I just started really focusing on pitching two years ago. I’m pretty new. I don’t have as much mound experience. I think I’m just starting to scratch my potential and feel like I have a lot of development left.”
Ronan spent the offseason fine tuning his mechanics and improving his command. He’s also hoping to improve his changeup, as it’s an offering he hasn’t had to rely on throughout his high school career.
“I’m still working on my changeup,” he said. “There’s just not a lot of use for it up here. I can get by with throwing my fastball past kids. Even if there’s a decent to good hitter, I’m not going to throw my changeup because that’s going to speed their bat. So I’ll just throw my curveball to them.”
Expectations are high for Ronan in his senior season, which begins on March 29, after being nearly unhittable as a junior in 2016.
Scouts will flock to Ashville, Penn. this spring to witness Ronan up close before June’s draft. But Ronan said he’s doing his best to not get caught up in the draft chatter.
“I just try to not think about it too much. It’s hard not too, especially being a small-town kid. It’s very rare that kids get this opportunity so it’s a pretty big deal. It’s hard not to think about it all the time.
“I’m thinking about it just trying to get myself mentally prepared already and envisioning when I’m pitching and all the scouts are back there to try and clear my mind.”
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