David Vinsky, a 21-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect, has been home in Northville staying in shape, hitting in an indoor batting cage and working on his defense.
This was supposed to be David Vinsky’s first full season as a professional baseball player.
Instead, the 21-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect has been home in Northville staying in shape, hitting in an indoor batting cage and working on his defense on outdoor diamonds with other grounded baseball players.
“There’s only so much you can do,” Vinsky said.
What Vinsky should be doing this summer is playing for the Cardinals’ low-Class A Midwest League team in Peoria, Illinois.
Vinsky was selected by the Cardinals in June 2019 in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball draft after outstanding careers at Farmington Hills Harrison High School and Northwood University.
After signing a minor-league contract and receiving a $100,000 signing bonus from the Cardinals shortly after he was drafted, Vinsky played for the Johnson City (Tenn.) Cardinals in the Rookie Appalachian League and State College (Pa.) Spikes in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.
He hit a combined .284 in 56 games.
Vinsky was on the Peoria Chiefs roster in mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Cardinals’ spring training facility in Jupiter, Florida.
“I was at spring training for one day. They sent us (the minor leaguers) home quickly,” Vinsky said. “We didn’t do any baseball activities before we left. I had two plane flights in 24 hours.”
For the first time since he started playing travel baseball when he was 7, there isn’t a baseball season for Vinsky. And for the first time since he left for Northwood, he’s home during the baseball season.
Those anomalies don’t look like they’re going to rectify themselves.
Vinsky doubts there will be a 2020 season for minor league baseball teams.
“If fans aren’t allowed in the stands, minor league teams can’t make money,” Vinsky said. “They don’t have television and radio contracts like Major League Baseball teams.”
There have been slivers of good news for Vinsky in this lost season.
Hundreds of minor league players were cut by their parent club in cost-saving moves.
Vinsky wasn’t among them. And he’ll be continue to be paid by the Cardinals through at least June.
“I also know I’m not alone when it comes to losing a minor league season, and I think I’m doing more to stay sharp than some other guys,” he said. “And you always have to remember why we’re not playing. So many people have lost family members because of the pandemic.”
Vinsky, who throws left-handed, played all three outfield positions last season at Johnson City and State College. He was strictly a centerfielder at State College.
“I assume I would have been playing centerfield for Peoria,” the 6-foot, 198-pounder said. “But I don’t care where I play. I’ll play wherever they put me.”
Vinsky played only three seasons at Northwood, but the right-handed batter left as the program’s all-time leader in hits (274), batting average (.411), doubles (66), runs (189) and RBIs (160).
When he was selected by the Cardinals, Vinsky became Northwood’s first Major League Baseball draftee in this century.
Vinsky will turn 22 on July 9.