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Mcbroom In Midst Of Solid Season As He Searches For Identity

August 19, 2018

MOOSIC — There’s the game in June against Rochester when he drove in five runs. Four days later, he had five hits at Syracuse.

He had an 11-game hitting streak, a 10-game hitting streak and a nine-game hitting streak.

Most recently, he launched a three-run homer against Durham that capped an improbable five-run ninth inning.

Ryan McBroom has plenty of highlights to remember what’s been one of, if not the best, offensive seasons of his career. It’s not a homer or a hit or a play that stands out most for the RailRiders slugger, however.

It’s how he’s handled it all.

One of the main victims of a roster crunch at first base, McBroom has been back and forth between Double-A Trenton and SWB three times this year.

They shipped him out June 1 and he batted .381 with a double, triple and home run in five games with the Thunder. He went back down June 19, when he was batting .295 for the season at

Triple-A, and he was up to .297 when they demoted him again July 19.

“I’ve been in seven different houses, living in all different hotels and apartments,” said McBroom, adding he was moving into place No. 8 with middle-of-the-order teammate Mike Ford on Friday night. “Just the up and down from here to Trenton. I honestly look back, I’m pretty proud of myself for handling it the way I did and for kind of just staying true to myself and not letting it get the best of me. And then just playing the game I always have. That’s kind of something look back and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I’m pretty proud of myself for the way I did things.”

Before he landed on the disabled list Friday after tweaking his back, McBroom was batting .304 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 84 games with the RailRiders. He’s third in the International League in hitting, one of six players with a batting average better than .300.

This season hasn’t been about a swing change or a particular mechanical adjustment or a different philosophy at the plate.

It’s been about finding an identity; learning who he is as a player.

“Honestly, I don’t even know if I had (an identity),” McBroom said. “I was kind of just a guy that was going to go out and hit, you know what I mean? I really couldn’t even tell you. I don’t even know. I just kind of went out and played games, not really knowing my identity. I kind of just went out and just played. But now, I kind of know where I stand and what I’ve got to do to help the team win. I think that’s a good thing.”

So, who is McBroom?

Background stuff, he’s a 26-year-old from Virginia who went to college at West Virginia and was a 15th-round selection by the Blue Jays in 2014. Toronto traded him to the Yankees for Rob Refsnyder in July 2017.

As for the on-the-field stuff?

“A guy that’s going to hit for average, going to hit for power as well,”

McBroom said.

He’s learned he’s a middle-of-the-order hitter who can play first base and outfield. He’s a guy who drives in runs and a guy who’s learning to stay on the fastball.

“From last year, to this year, it’s been quite a turnaround,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said. “Not that he wasn’t good before. But he’s made some real good adjustments.”

Mitchell got the first look at

McBroom, managing him for the second half of last season at Trenton after the trade. McBroom batted .257 in 38 games with the Thunder, had four homers and five doubles.

He has four homers and five doubles in 25 games with Trenton this season.

“I was talking to him about his pitch selection, saying how much better it was,” Mitchell said. “He’s seeing the ball better, I think. He moved off the plate a little bit, and he’s seeing the ball better. He’s just really come into his own. He’s shown a lot of power, which we knew he had. But he’s been more consistent, I think, with not only power, but obviously getting more hits and not striking out as much and not swinging at balls that are out of the zone. He’s still working on it, but it’s come a long way.”

McBroom has also played a lot of baseball this year. He joined the Tomateros de Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific Winter League over the offseason and batted .318 with five homers in 30 games.

McBroom knows he’s not always going to be the guy who hits .300 or mashes 25 home runs. That’s baseball, he said. This season has shown him the kind of player he can be and has given him the confidence to be that player.

He landed on the disabled list Friday for the first time in his career after his back tightened on him during Tuesday’s game. He doesn’t think it’s too serious — originally, he thought he’d miss one or two games — and plans to be in the lineup Wednesday at Buffalo, the first day he’s eligible to be activated.

He has hits in nine of his last 10 games, and doesn’t plan on this injury setting him back.

“I’m going to pick back up exactly where I left off and that was the rainout game (Tuesday) here,” McBroom said. “So, just act like the rainout game was yesterday and start right back up. Baseball, it all just blends together.”

Contact the writer:

cfoley@timesshamrock.com;

570-348-9125;

@RailRidersTT on Twitter

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