Longtime Minor League Pitcher Matt Pobereyko Dies Suddenly at 31

Pobereyko had spent the last seven-and-a-half years playing in the minor, independent and Mexican leagues


Longtime minor league pitcher Matt Pobereyko died Friday near Chicago, his family announced on Monday. Pobereyko was 31.

Pobereyko collapsed suddenly on Friday in his apartment before being found by his girlfriend, his brother, Daniel, told NBC News. The Hammond, Ind., native was living in Warrenville, a western suburb of Chicago, during the offseason of the Mexican Pacific Winter League.

His current team, Saraperos de Saltillo, issued a statement on Saturday claiming that the pitcher died of a heart attack, but a spokesperson for the DuPage County Coroner's Office said the death was "still pending investigation" and that it could take nearly eight weeks for a formal cause of death to be determined.

Daniel Pobereyko said his brother's death came as a shock to the entire family, including their parents, who had visited him earlier that week.

"He just dropped and that's all we know," Daniel Pobereyko said. "We don't know. There's nothing outstanding on the autopsy. But from what I understand, he would have gotten a clean bill of health if he had a pulse."

Matt Pobereyko played at Kentucky Wesleyan before turning professional in 2016. He spent some time in the minor leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets and Miami Marlins -- reaching Triple-A for the Mets in 2018 -- but the last four years of his career have been primarily spent in independent and Mexican leagues.

On Sunday, Liga Mexicana del Pacifico tweeted a photo from Kuroda Park in Guasave, home to his former team, Algodoneros de Guasave. The team had placed a wreath and the number 56 in chalk at the pitchers mound.

He recorded 43 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings pitched with Algodoneros de Guasave this past winter.

His most recent team in the U.S. was the Sioux City Explorers.

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