A hat-tip to Baseball America for pointing out the Pensacola News Journal story on Drew Cumberland, a Padres prospect whose career is now over because of an inner-ear condition known as bilateral vestibulopathy.
Cumberland was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007. He hit .350/.385/.505 with seven homers and 21 steals between high-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio last year, and BA named him San Diego’s No. 9 prospect entering this season.
Cumberland, though, went down this spring with vertigo-like symptoms and hadn’t played since. Suffering from the effects of repeated concussions, he experienced constant headaches and dizzy spells.
“There were times when I thought I was losing my mind,” Cumberland said. “The headaches were coming from so deep in my brain, it was hard to explain to someone. I would talk to (the Padres’) psychiatrist because, honestly, I thought I was going crazy.”
After his diagnosis, Cumberland tried resuming workouts in late June, only to have to shut it down after a few days because he symptoms returned. As a result, he’s now pursuing a coaching a career at the tender age of 22.