Penn Cambria senior Ronan invited to national baseball showcase
Some of the best Major League Baseball prospects from high schools all over the United States annually compete in two national feature showcases, the East Coast Pro Games in Tampa, Fla. and the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif.
This summer, Penn Cambria Area High School’s standout left-handed pitcher, Mason Ronan, will be one of those players.
Ronan, who will be a senior at Penn Cambria this fall, was picked by scouts to participate in the East Coast Pro Games at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Aug. 1-4, as well as in the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. Aug. 6-10.
The alumni list for both showcases is eye-opening. Last year’s Area Code Games featured shortstop Royce Lewis, the top pick selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, and Hunter Greene, a pitcher taken with the second pick by the Cincinnati Reds.
Past performers in the East Coast Pro Games have included retired Major League Baseball slugger Prince Fielder and upper-echelon pitchers Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner.
“Most of the top-round draft picks are there,” Jim “Scooter” Ronan, Mason’s father and Penn Cambria’s head baseball coach, said of the two showcase events. “I would imagine that almost every first, second and third-round pick out of high school has been invited. They (the showcases) are pretty legit.”
Mason Ronan — who carded a 6-1 record and 0.65 earned run average with 86 strikeouts in 43 innings in nine games as a junior for Penn Cambria’s baseball team this past spring — is excited about the opportunity to show off his talents before hundreds of major-league scouts.
“It’s really an honor,” Mason Ronan said. “These are high-profile events, and it’s crazy to have been selected, honestly. (Representatives from) every Major League Baseball team will be there. I’m excited.”
Tryouts for the events are not open, but are limited to a select group of athletes from around the country who are referred to the tryouts by various scouts.
Mason Ronan, whose fast ball tops out at 91 miles per hour, was recommended for a tryout in Allentown for the Area Code Games Northeast Region on Monday, June 19 by scouts who had seen him pitch this past spring at Penn Cambria.
He impressed highly-touted Yankees scout Matt Hyde well enough at the Allentown tryout to earn a berth on the New York Yankees Northeast Region team for the Area Code Games.
Ronan had also impressed Cleveland Indians scout Bob Mayer enough this past spring to earn a berth on the Indians Mid-Atlantic Region team at the East Coast Pro Games.
“When I tried out last year, I didn’t make it, and I used that to motivate me,” Ronan said. “It was one of my goals this year. After I threw (in Allentown), I felt pretty confident, but getting those calls (from Hyde and Mayer) was still awesome.”
In both the Area Code Games and East Coast Pro Games, several regionally-based teams with major-league affiliations whose rosters number between 18 and 24 players each perform before major-league scouts and scouting directors whose primary objective is to find the best talent for next June’s baseball draft.
“The East Coast Pro Games will have over 450 major-league scouts and over 20 scouting directors at the event,” Jim Ronan said. “That’s over two-thirds of the scouting directors in Major League Baseball, and the scouting directors will have the final say in discussions about who gets drafted.”
Mason Ronan — a 2017 Mirror First Baseball Team All-Star — has already verbally committed to play Division I collegiate baseball at Michigan State University, but if players get drafted by a major-league team, they can opt out of their collegiate commitments.
“Kids will sign (for college as high school seniors) this fall no matter what college they’re committed to, but next June, when the draft is (held), is when it can get dicey,” Jim Ronan said. “It’s a big-time decision (at that time) whether to sign a professional baseball contract, or to go to college and play baseball.
“It’s a tough spot, but a lot of kids would like to be in that spot.”
Getting drafted by a major-league team is a priority for Mason Ronan.
“Having the opportunity to get drafted out of high school would be unreal,” he said. “I’m going to work for that. It’s definitely one of my goals now.”