Tanner Klein Signs Pro Baseball Contract (06/20/2018)
(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) Former Bobcat Tanner Klein realized a dream on June 8 when he signed a contract to play professional baseball with the New York Bucks of the Empire Professional Baseball League (EPBL). Drafted into the EPBL as a third baseman, Klein actually claimed a roster spot on the Bucks as a pitcher, though he is also expected to fill a utility role in the field.
Klein, a 2013 graduate of Clarion Area High School, had a stellar career for the Bobcat nine. During his senior year he batted .345, driving in 20 runs and stealing six bases. On the mound he went 7-1 with one save, posting a 1.39 ERA and striking out 63. He earned recognition as a second team all-state pitcher during both his junior and senior seasons. While in the Bobcat orange and black, Klein also played football and basketball.
After graduating from Clarion, Klein attended Allegheny College of Maryland, playing baseball and earning an Associate of Science degree in his two years at the school. In 2015 he transferred to Mansfield University of Pennsylvania to continue his academic and playing career.
Playing as a Mansfield Mountie Klein found himself primarily at third base as a junior before splitting time between the hot corner and the mound as a senior. During his senior season Klein played in 39 games, hit .336 and drove in 26. He was among the team leaders in doubles and home runs. As a pitcher he posted a 4-4 record with a 5.32 ERA. His senior season culminated with him being named team MVP, Male Iron Mountie of the Year, and an All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and All-Region third baseman. Klein graduated from Mansfield in 2017 with a degree in Business Administration.
The EPBL is an Independent Professional Baseball Organization not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Its mission it to give players with little pro experience a chance at being signed to higher-level league contracts with affiliated or independent teams. The Bucks, playing in Canton, NY, are one of six teams in the EPBL, with other franchises located in Puerto Rico, New Hampshire, Maine, and upstate New York.
Since the season started on June 13 the Bucks have been playing in Puerto Rico and will not be returning to the mainland for games until next week (June 27). As of this writing, Klein has appeared on the mound in three games, pitching four innings and fanning four.
Klein is the son of Doug and Michelle Klein of Shippenville.
Clarion Sports Zone will be posting a more in-depth feature, including quotes from Klein and his high school and college coaches, in the future.
(photographs courtesy of Doug Klein)
(not for republication)