Scott Heineman has quite literally run with his quick promotion through Minor League Baseball.
The outfielder was called up to the Express and the Triple-A level for the first time in his career this season and parlayed that into a stellar first half of the season and late nod to the All-Star game last week in Columbus.
Once there, he set a new record for stolen bases with four, including a swipe of home plate in the sixth inning to give the PCL a lead they wouldn’t give up.
“From our team meeting before the game, the manager said to have fun,” Heineman said. “Obviously we’re going to try and win, but lets have a blast and show your skill set. It was just a good experience.”
Heineman fourth among active Express players this season with a .302 average and third with a .804 OPS. He’s tied for second on the squad in home runs (nine), second in RBIs (47) and leads Round Rock in stolen bases (14).
“He’s at the top of the order for a reason and he finds a way to make things happen on the bases and defensively,” Express manager Jason Wood said. “He seems to be in a good place and he’s getting to the ball and he’s seeing his pitches and he’s not missing them.”
In the last five games before the All-Star break, he finished 12-of-21 (.571) with five RBIs, three runs scored and a home run. He finished the first half of the season on a 10-game hitting streak and his longest streak of the year is 15 games.
“Just really what I’ve learned from the course of this season stands out,” Heineman said. “I’ve learned from success and failures. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a player and the game at this level. Here, everyone is pretty talented so it’s about the mental side of the game.”
Heineman said first baseman Tommy Joseph, who started the season with him in Frisco, has been one of the biggest influences on him this year. Joseph, who spent the last two seasons in the major leagues with Philadelphia, has been on the disabled list since before the All-Star break.
Heineman is at Dell Diamond more than just about anyone on the team.
He said some guys give his flack for showing up early and just lounging on the couch watching TV, but he prides himself on getting done what he needs to so he’s ready for the day.
“Baseball is really what I’ve got out here and I love being around the guys,” Heineman said.
Heineman was hurt quite a bit throughout his college career at Oregon having four surgeries in the four years he was with the Ducks. ??Still, he was drafted int he 11th round despite injuring his ankle and needing surgery in 2015. He recovered and made the California League All-Star Game in his first professional season with the High Desert Mavericks.
You won’t find Heineman at the top of any prospect list. MLBpipeline.com has him listed as the No. 24 player in the Texas Rangers farm system. But Heineman doesn’t care what anybody but the Rangers think.
“The guys in our system that rank us think very highly of me and they’ve expressed that to me,” he said. “That’s only helped my confidence and helped me grow.”
Since turning pro, he’s only played in the outfield and mainly in his preferred centerfield position, but Heineman has shown the ability to adapt. In his final game of the 2013 Cape Cod League, a collegiate summer league, he played all nine defensive positions.
Growing up, Heineman always wanted to be a part of his older brother’s group of friends. Even as a five-year-old, he had to step his game to hang with the older kids and pushing him to get better.
With the 25-year-old blazing a trail through the Rangers system and his older brother a catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, the hard work is paying off.
“He pushed me and didn’t accept failure,” Heineman said. “The rest is to be continued.”