Sunday, December 21, 2008

What happened to Nate Vineyard

Nate Vineyard was the Mets second overall pick ( # 47) of the 2007 draft, straight out of high school. That was the same draft that produced Eddie Kunz, Scott Moviel and Brant Rustich. That same summer he pitched in nine games ( 7 starts ) with a record of 0-3 and an ERA of 5.27.
The Mets were quite pleased that Kunz and Vineyard were still available when they were in position to make their selections. The Mets had no first-round pick because they forfeited their spot to the Giants when they signed Moises Alou as a Type A free agent last season. Type A players require greater compensation. source

Just last spring Vineyard was ranked #14 on the Mets top 20 prospect list and was referred to as an example that the Mets farm system wasn't completely depleted by the Santana trade. In two starts for the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2008 he was 0-2 ( 8 innings) with an ERA of 14.63 and batters were hitting .382. After the second start he went down with a shoulder strain which eventually resulted in season ending surgery.

McKamey sees 19-year-old lefty Nate Vineyard, a 2007 draftee, as a No. 3 starter who should reach the bigs in 2012. His best pitch now is a slider, which grades out at the highest level. His fastball is above average and he has a developing change. Vineyard "gets easy velocity" from a "fluid delivery" with "good movement." His slider is a "legitimate strikeout pitch." source SNY

Lefthander Nathan Vineyard, the Mets’ top high school pick in the ‘07 draft (supplemental first round/47th overall), landed on the DL at low-A Savannah with a shoulder strain after going 0-2 with a 14.62 ERA in two starts. source Daily

Lefthander Nathan Vineyard, the Mets’ top high school pick in last June’s draft, underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. source Daily News

So this year's top prospect lists start to come out and there's no mention of Vineyard nor are any of the minor league sites reporting on his recovery or status. Then John Sickel's Minor League Ball prospect list comes out and at the bottom of his Mets list he asks:
If there are other guys you think should be included, let me know. Also, what is the deal with Nate Vineyard? I keep hearing he has quit baseball, but I haven’t found any details about this. I don’t want to dump him until I find out exactly what’s going on. source Minor League Ball
NYFS started a thread on Vineyard which linked to an Inside Pitch thread and an Adam Rubin report. In the Inside Pitch thread the screen name Insidepitchadmin states that Vineyard retired or quit. The poster that referenced Adam Rubin's discussion on Friday (12/19) in which he stated he spoke with Tony Bernazard who said Vineyard would miss all of 2009 recovering from the shoulder injury. It appears that Vineyard may have character issues, Joe Demayo of NY Baseball Digest raised the subject in the NYFS thread and Mack Mets had some of the same comments at a Flushing U thread. As of right now he's out with an injury for all of '09' but who knows if he'll ever return.....