Less than a year after retiring from the game Ryan Westmoreland was honored by the only team he ever played for professionally when the Lowell Spinners announced at their Hot Stove Dinner on Saturday night that they would be retiring his number 25 as part of ‘Ryan Westmoreland Day’ during their 2014 season.
He will become the first Spinners player to have his number retired and will join the Boston Red Sox retired numbers that align the right field wall at LeLacheur Park, as well as the number 18 honoring late UMass-Lowell baseball player Dave Boutin.
After his lone season in 2009 Westmoreland’s stock skyrocketed, being named the best player in the Red Sox minor league system by Baseball America who also rated him as the 21st best prospect in the game.
Heading into his second season as a pro he was derailed by a cavernous malformation on his brain that required multiple surgeries and endless rehab, but despite intense efforts by Westmoreland to get back on the field, the risks ultimately outweighed the rewards and he announced his retirement in March of 2013.
Taken by the Red Sox in the 5th round of the 2008 draft out of Portsmouth (Rhode Island) High School, Westmoreland debuted with the Spinners as a tall, stringy, raw 19-year-old with a full arsenal of tools that he immediately put on display.
That season Ryan played in 60 of Lowell’s 75 regular season games, helping to lead the Spinners to their last Stedler Division title and playoff appearance.
Westmoreland tossed out an impressive .296/.401/.484 batting split with 25 extra base hits, 35 RBIs, 38 runs scored, 38 walks and 19 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
His efforts from that season prompted Baseball America to write the following in their 2010 Prospect Handbook:
“His skills are just as impressive as his considerable tools. Westmoreland has an advanced approach for a teenager, with a short stroke, control of the strike zone and a willingness to use the entire field. His hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel balls consistently, and he has above-average power potential. He has plus-plus speed and knows how to use it…”
Those who had the privilege to watch him play will be quick to tell you that this kid was poised enough to carry those expectations on his shoulders as well.
“Ryan was not only a transcendent talent with the Spinners, but a phenomenal person,” said Spinners President and General Manager Tim Bawmann. “We have no doubt, had fate not intervened, that Ryan would be patrolling a Major League outfield for years to come. This tribute is about more than Ryan the baseball player, more so for Ryan the person. There is certainly no one more deserving for his accomplishments on the field and his perseverance off it.”
Ryan Westmoreland left an indelible mark on the game and the organization in his one season as a pro and he will now be properly celebrated by the team where he finished his career.
Currently the Spinners are in the process of pulling their 2014 promotional schedule together, so no date has been set for ‘Ryan Westmoreland Day’ yet, but we will be sure to let you know once the schedule is finalized.
Photo credits - John Corneau/Lowell Spinners
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