Pacific Palisades resident Scott Heineman, who plays AAA ball just learned that he is the all-star replacement for Fresno’s Kyle Tucker, who was called up on July 7 to play for the Houston Astros.
Heineman, who plays for the Texas Rangers farm team Round Rock Express, is one of five outfielders selected for the Pacific Coast League. Residents can watch him on the ESPN-televised July 11 game that will be played in Columbus, Ohio.
Based in Round Rock, Texas, just outside of Austin, Heineman is having a terrific season.
The Las Vegas Review wrote in a June article (“Scott Heineman Powers Round Rock past the Las Vegas 51s 10-6”) that “Round Rock right fielder Scott Heineman hurt the 51s with his bat and glove on Sunday, doing it all in Round Rock’s 10-6 win over Las Vegas.
“A day after hitting two home runs and driving in four, Heineman followed that performance by driving in six of the Express’ (29-34) 10 runs in the game.
“Heineman hit a three-run blast in the third inning off of starter Chris Flexen and added a two-RBI single off of him in the next inning. He also had an RBI single off Joseph Zanghi in the top of the ninth inning,” the Review story wrote.
Many might remember Heineman from playing t-ball and then five-pitch at the Palisades Recreation Center.
He played Santa Monica Little League, before high school ball at Crespi. As a senior, he earned Preseason All-American honors, as well as being named first-team All-Mission League after batting .358 with 26 runs scored, 24 hits, 19 RBI, two doubles and three triples.
He attended the University of Oregon, pitching and playing third base. As a junior, he batted .278 with four home runs, 38 RBI and 14 doubles. He led the team in at bats (230), while ranking second on the team in home runs, RBI and stolen bases (12), third in slugging percentage (.400) and doubles, fourth in batting average and fifth in runs scored (28).
In 2014, after eight games, Heineman underwent shoulder surgery, but was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 19th round of the 2014 MBL June amateur draft.
The 6’1” 215-pound player was picked up by the Texas Rangers in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. He spent 2016 at the A+ level the High Desert Mavericks in Adelanto, California, where his batting average was .303.
The following year, he moved to the AA Frisco RoughRiders, where he had a .284 batting average.
This April, while playing with the RoughRiders in Tulsa, he was called into office after a game. “The staff told me I was getting a bump up,” Heineman said. “It was 10:30 at night and the next morning at 4 a.m. I was flying to join Round Rock Express (AAA team).”
The News spoke to Heineman in June, just before he left his apartment for the Round Rock Dell Diamond Stadium, where he was starting a seven-game home series.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do—I have such a passion for it.”
On a typical game day, he generally has a late breakfast and is at the stadium by noon where he has lunch.
Three times a week, he does light workouts, “if anything is sore, I work on that,” he said. At 1 p.m., he watches films of the starting pitcher. From 2 to 2:30, he goes to the batting cage with the hitting coach. “You’re constantly working on getting better,” he said.
At 3 p.m. he’s on the field and working on defense, and at 4 p.m. it’s batting practice on the field.
“Around 5 p.m., we play cards and try to have little fun during the down time,” he said. Then it’s a meal, “and getting ready for the game,” which involves reading the scouting report on the opposing hitters.
“We get a good crowd every night,” he said. “We have lots of fans that are interested in knowing the players.”
Mature beyond his 25 years, he said, “It is important to have outlets outside of work—videos, television, something to help you get away.”
Heineman was asked what it was like to go from college to AAA ball. “In college, most of the time was in practice,” he said, explaining that schedules were highly regimented.
When he started playing professional baseball in the high A league, he noticed there was a step-up in performance, but that there was also a lot of young players with raw talent that had not received the coaching that many college players get. “They [players] are still learning to play the game.”
Once he was in minor league ball, he looked to older brother Tyler (a catcher for the Biloxi Shuckers, Milwaukee Brewers affiliate) for tips. “I talked to Tyler about the importance of a routine,” he said. “In pro-ball you have a lot of down time and coaches don’t tell you what to do.
“It’s up to a player to perfect his craft,” Heineman said. “Each level there is better competition and guys who have a better understanding of the game. In AAA, there are guys who have played with the majors. On our roster out of about 30 guys, about two thirds have been in the big league.
“The experiences I’ve learned from those guys are unbelievable—because they’ve been through it,” Heineman said.
The bump from AA to AAA also has other rewards. In AA, players go by bus to different games, when you’re AAA, players fly to different games. “The food is much better in AAA, too,” Heineman said, noting that at the lower levels, there might be food purchased from grocery stores and brought to the stadium, but at AAA, there is a cook for the players.
During 2018 spring training, a February 1 article by T.R. Sullivan, “10 Rangers Entering Camp Under the Radar,” Heineman, 25, was singled out as a player to watch.
Sullivan wrote “The right-handed-hitting outfielder was taken in the 11th round out of the University of Oregon in 2015 and has yet to appear on anybody’s top prospects list. He is ranked No. 24 in the Rangers’ system by MLB Pipeline. But he can swing the bat with speed and power, play all three outfield spots and gets after it with intensity.”
A week later Kevin WC wrote “Scott Heineman Scouting Report MLB: Players Occasionally Come Out of Seemingly Nowhere, or Oregon.”
“Very few people woke up expecting to see a full article about Texas Rangers outfield prospect Scott Heineman, but here we are. Heineman, the Rangers’ 11th round selection in the 2015 draft, has flown under the radar due to his age and rather modest college career at Oregon. His most impressive college season was his 4th year where he posted a .811 OPS with very little power, but he was then drafted and signed by the Rangers for a decent chunk of change for an 11th round redshirt junior.
“The first time I saw Heineman at spring training in 2016 and I was immediately interested in him due to his obvious athleticism and max effort. I decided to put my notes on him in my back pocket and sit on it until I had learned the ropes and could make a better estimation of his skill. Last season I was able to see Heineman quite a bit and nothing has changed for me. He plays the game with max effort at all times and the quickness and athleticism are still evident.”
“A look at the batting cages where he and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were hitting with a group of three other Roughriders told the rest of the story; he has a real shot at being useful to a big-league team.”
He praised Heineman’s psychological makeup and work ethic. “Every single game I went to he was getting extra work in the cages and every single person I’ve talked to about him pegs him as a great dude with some fire in the heat of a competition.”
Then concluded, “With a successful swing adjustment or improvement against quality pitching he could find himself with a regular role in the MLB.”
Heineman has a game almost every day. (Visit: milb.com/schedule). “We fly in and out of Austin, it’s a beautiful area,” he only has an occasional day off and how does he spend it? “Laundry, lots of laundry,” he laughs.