June 17, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer & Rebecca Herman
“I grew up playing T-Ball in a small town of Ramona at the age of 4. I was the younger kid.” That is what Nick Vincent told us on Sunday before the Tucson Padres played the Sacramento River Cats. Nick grew up playing baseball for Ramona High School but would always find time for Padres baseball. “I grew up going to games at Qualcomm watching players like Tony Gwynn, Steve Finley, Wally Joyner, and Andy Ashby play ball.” The ‘98 team was “a fun team to watch.” Nick’s grandma was a huge Padres fan and she would take young Nick to a lot of games and events down at the Q.
After a high school career that included such achievements as being named the 2004 Valley League’s Pitcher of the Year and 2nd team all Country, Nick tried out for the Palomar Jr. Baseball team. He told us, “if I didn’t make it, I would have probably gone into construction and work in that industry.” Not only did he make it, he continued to get better. After red-shirting in 2005, he posted a 1.51 ERA in 101 innings for the 2006 season and followed that up with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts for Palomar. He transferred to Cal State Long Beach for 2007 where he had a record of 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA over 30 innings and helped lead his team to a championship in the Big West Conference.
After just one season at Cal State Long Beach, Nick was drafted in the 18th round (the 555th player taken in the 2008 draft) by his hometown team the San Diego Padres. He was signed and reported to A- Eugene and actually ended the season pitching 1 game for AAA Portland. 2009 and 2010 found Nick spending time pitching for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Pitching out of the bullpen, he earned a combined 8-2 record striking out on average a hitter an inning. Nick moved up the ladder to AA San Antonio for the 2011 season where he continued to strike out hitters at an average of 10.10 strikeouts per 9 innings covering 79.1 innings. 2012 saw Nick start in AA, and then being promoted to AAA where he continued to pitch well for the Tucson Padres.
ON THE FARM AT TUCSON
~~WITH NICK VINCENT, JUNE 7-9, 2013~~
We were fortunate to catch Nick in Tucson and he came in as a relief pitcher in both the Saturday and Sunday games.
Nick’s dream came true on June 26, 2012 in what Nick called the “proudest moment” of his career. The Padres, looking for an arm for the bullpen, called him up for the first time. “Making it to the major leagues … I mean, that is the reason you play.” Nick’s family, always very supportive of him and lifelong Padres fans, was there from the start. “Just seeing my dad and mom go to games and stuff and I know they are just stoked to go to the games. Grandma and grandpa being from San Diego and it is cool seeing the whole family go to the games.” Finishing 2012 with San Diego, Nick posted a 1.71 ERA striking out 28 hitters in 26.1 innings pitched. 2013, however, saw Nick back to Tucson after getting injured during spring training. Nick continued to pitch well in AAA and he was called up on May 30, 2013 to replace Anthony Bass. He pitched 3 innings in 2 days – giving up no runs, but was sent back after the game on May 31 so the Padres could add a fresh arm after a 17 inning game against Toronto.
Nick was recalled on June 11, 2013 and on June 12, he earned his first major league save by striking out Justin Upton on a called 3rd strike. And once again – we were there to see it!
We were very pleased to have the opportunity to get to know Nick Vincent. In addition to being a solid pitcher, he is a truly humble man who appreciates his family and San Diego (Ramona) roots and the opportunity to play so close to home. We hope to see a lot more of Nick in San Diego as he is a great addition to our bullpen.
Be sure to connect with Nick ….
Interview & Story by Wayne McBrayer, TheCasualFan
Editing & Photography by Rebecca Herman, TheBaseballPHD