Unlike many of the New York Yankees‘ top pitching prospects, Vidal Nuno was relatively unknown before spring training. Now, Nuno has been in the majors since the end of April and recorded his first major league start as well as his first major league win on Monday afternoon.
The left-hander’s story is an interesting one as he didn’t just appear in the minors with scouts and recruiters all around him. He had to work to get to where he is right now, and he almost decided to leave baseball altogether.
Nuno was originally drafted in 2009 by the Cleveland Indians in the 48th round. He pitched very well in his first season in the Indians’ farm system, but after a slightly disappointing sophomore year the Indians released him following 2011 spring training.
According to a story by Jack Curry, after being released Nuno was seriously considering leaving baseball. As he was driving back home from the Indians’ facility, he called his parents and told him of his thoughts.
Nuno’s family encouraged him not to quit the game he loved and instead to do anything possible to get him back on track to become a major league pitcher. Emboldened by this support, Nuno kept working on his pitches and kept his dream alive.
The pitcher wound up signing with the Frontier League, an independent baseball league, in the time after he was let go by the Indians where soon after he was seen by a Yankee scout who signed him to a minor league deal.
From 2011 on, Nuno worked his way up the minor league ladder starting at A-Level ball in Staten Island and winding up in Triple-A at Scranton-Wilkes Barre, where he had an impressive start to the 2013 season.
He was 2-0 with an ERA of 1.54 when the Yankees called him up to man the bullpen, but he soon got his first start and the rest is history.
Nuno’s first start was impressive as he pitched five scoreless innings and gave up only three hits, ironically against the Indian organization that released him.
So far in this admittedly very small sample, Nuno has showed he has talent, a dream, and a passion for the game. What’s not to like?
Holly Berkowitz is a New York Yankees writer for rantsports.com. Follow her on Twitter @hollyberry9118.