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A look into the journey of Rangers rookie Scott Heineman

Photo: Alex Plinck/Dallas Sports Fanatic

A look into the journey of Rangers rookie Scott Heineman

2019 became the season for fans to get a glimpse of the Rangers’ future. The club played eighteen classified rookies this past season, four-position players, and fourteen pitchers. Fans know about the impact guys like Nick Solak, Emmanuel Clase, and Jose Trevino bring. However, there’s one piece that felt lost in the shuffle in the final two months, Scott Heineman.

Heineman, a Los Angeles native, got his first taste of the major leagues on August 2nd against the Detroit Tigers. In his second at-bat against TCU alum, Tyler Alexander, Heineman was down in the count 0-2. He worked it to 2-2 and flicked a changeup off the plate to right-center field. It created a moment that Scott, his family, and his friends will never forget. In Scott’s four years in the minor leagues (411 games), he hit .303 with an OPS of .854. During his minor league stint in 2019, Heineman raked a .347 average with an OPS over 1.000 and 104 total bases in 176 at-bats, think about that.

Throughout Scott’s baseball career, injuries are a common theme, unfortunately. Scott’s first year with the Oregon Ducks ended abruptly with a foot injury, ending his season thirty-four games too soon in 2012. In 2014, Heineman suffered a torn labrum in his hip and limited his playing time to eight games the entire year after the season ending surgery, ending his 2014 year. After that, you’d think things would be just peachy. Not so fast, to start the 2015 season with Oregon, Heineman suffered a concussion during practice, causing him to miss the first twelve games of that season.

Subsequently, the Rangers drafted Heineman in June 2015; he immediately underwent right ankle surgery a week after signing with Texas. After three injury” less” seasons for Scott, the bug bit him in the left shoulder, the labrum to be exact. In December of 2018, Scott went through another surgery, this time on his shoulder. Heineman came back and made his season debut for Nashville on May 21st. He briefly moved to Rookie ball this season (11 days), after going back to Nashville and eventually made his debut in early August. Scott spent six days in his initial call-up after going back to Nashville for nine days. The Rangers recalled Heineman on August 19th and he remained in the big leagues to close out the season.

In the minors, Heineman played a bulk amount of his time in the outfield. The Rangers, however, had a plan to have him play first base, though the name of the game was “insert where we need you,” according to how Scott explained it to me. “I played about [nine] games at first base in AAA.” Heineman said, “Then I got called up for the first time and then was playing in the outfield when I got called up. Then when I got optioned down, I asked if the plan was to keep me playing first base. I didn’t see any time [after] I got optioned. I played pretty much all center field, and when I got recalled, [the Rangers] said you’re starting at first, [I was] a little surprised about that.” In his 196 innings in the majors this season, Scott Heineman had a goose-egg in the error column. Only two MLB players in 2019 can say they did not commit an error in playing 196 innings overall with at least 36 innings in both the outfield and infield. One was long time veteran Sean Rodriguez of the Phillies and the other is rookie Scott Heineman of the Rangers.

Scott Heineman was not the only Heineman to make his Major League debut in 2019. Scott’s brother, Tyler Heineman, made his debut for the Miami Marlins on September 4th of 2019 against the Pirates. Tyler is a year and a half older than Scott and a UCLA alum. Coincidentally, Scott and Tyler’s parents are from the New York area, where Scott belted his first big league home run on September 3rd in the Bronx. Later that month, Tyler Heineman picked up his first big league hit (September 25th) off Mets All-Star Jacob DeGrom and followed with his first MLB home run the next day, at Citi Field. Yes, you heard me right; both Heineman brothers racked their first MLB home run in the New York area where their parents are from. How is that possible? Because it’s baseball.

Although the stat-sheet doesn’t seem too kind for Heineman in his first major league experience, there’s no worry for Scott. He finished the last home stand six for fifteen with a homer, four driven in, three runs scored, and four walks. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for a club looking to balance their personnel. A hint from GM Jon Daniels after the season concluded is the Rangers are looking for right-handed outfielders and thinking of trading a left-handed outfielder. The late-season push from Scott Heineman and a successful spring training may be the difference-maker. We could see Scott on the opening day roster in Seattle come late March. With all the injuries he suffered in the past seven years, Scott Heineman is the epitome of “nothing can keep you down if you believe and have the determination to achieve.” In case you’re wondering, no I didn’t mean for that to rhyme.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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