Red Sox draft Penn Cambria’s Ronan

Pitt signee pitcher picked in 29th round

Mason Ronan spent tons of hours on the baseball field between his days at Penn Cambria High School and his extensive involvement in summer travel competition.

He traveled to sites as far away as California and Texas to hone his skills as a left-handed pitcher.

On Wednesday, all the time paid off and one of Ronan’s boyhood dreams came to fruition when he was chosen with the 880th overall pick in the 29th round of the 2018 Amateur Baseball Draft by the Boston Red Sox organization.

“Having grown up with all these big-league aspirations and having worked toward that dream by sacrificing all kinds of different things, it’s really cool to see it all pay off that a big-league team sees that ability in me and is offering me the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a professional baseball player,” Ronan said.

Ronan, 18, said that the amount of money that the Red Sox will offer him as a signing bonus within the next week will determine whether the recent Penn Cambria graduate signs a professional contract or opts to continue his college baseball career and education at the University of Pittsburgh, a school with which he signed a letter of intent last November.

Ronan said that unless the money that the Red Sox offer is too good to turn down, he is very likely to honor his commitment to Pitt. If he goes to Pitt, he will still have the opportunity, in three years, to be eligible for the baseball draft again.

“I’m leaning toward staying in college right now,” Ronan said. “Within the next couple of days, the Red Sox will be in contact with me and my advisor (Jeff Randazzo of Philadelphia). My advisor will be doing all the negotiating. They’ll come to me with a final number, and I’ll make my decision after that.

“It all comes down to (the money), but in three years, I can be eligible for the draft, and more than likely, I will go to college,” Ronan said. “I’ve been strong on my commitment to Pitt.”

Ronan, who had been offered a college baseball scholarship by Michigan State before deciding to sign with Pitt instead, sported a 6-1 record with 84 strikeouts and an earned run average of 0.50 in his junior year as a Penn Cambria pitcher.

This spring, as a senior, he was 4-2 and struck out 73 batters in 30 innings pitched.

“The 73 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched shows how dominant that he can be,” said Ronan’s father, Scooter, Penn Cambria’s head varsity basketball coach and current assistant baseball coach, who coached Mason in both sports. “He’s a power pitcher with a ton of strikeouts, he has a fastball clocked at between 88 and 92 miles per hour, but his curveball is rated among the best in the entire country by many professional people. His curveball has helped him to get to this point.”

Reed Gragnani, a Mid-Atlantic Region scout with the Red Sox who scouted Mason Ronan, agreed.

“He’s got an above-average curveball,” Gragnani said. “His curveball was one of the better ones I’ve seen from the players I’ve evaluated this year, and there’s no doubt that being left-handed helped him get drafted.”

As did the all the time that he’s put into the sport.

“He’s been in travel ball the last three years, and last year in particular, he played in California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Boston,” Scooter Ronan said. “It’s insane the amount of travel we put in to have the opportunity that he got (Wednesday).

“We had a goal, and a lot of people believed in us,” Scooter Ronan added. “It wasn’t easy by any means, but you just have to believe in the process. We believed in the end result, and this is a step in the right direction. It’s a great opportunity for him to play either professional or college baseball, and we’ll just go from there.”

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