Once viewed as one of the top outfield prospects in the Boston Red Sox minor league system, Ryan Westmoreland has announced his retirement from baseball in an email sent to multiple members of the local media, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. The now 22 year old’s career was cut short due to the existence of a cavernous malformation on his brain stem, first discovered during a Spring physical in 2010.
Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.
Westmoreland’s career consisted of just one season, in which he hit .296/.401/.484 with 7 HR and 35 RBI in 267 PA for the team’s Low-A Lowell affiliate in 2009.
A star in his home state of Rhode Island, Westmoreland opted to accept a $2 Million signing bonus from the Red Sox after being drafted instead of following through on a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt. By the end of his first season in the minor leagues he was already starting to be considered among the game’s top prospects, rising all the way to #21 on Baseball America’s annual Top 100 list entering the 2010 season.
Surgery was first performed in March 2010 and by all accounts, Westmoreland had been recovering better than expected before suffering a setback this past July. That setback would result in a second surgery which ultimately appears to have ended his career.