Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Kurt Heyer Interview On His 2018-19 Experience From Australia

Setting a goal to reach the majors may take some time and miles of travel.  Kurt Heyer has been doing both and still intends to see the day when he steps onto the field of a major league team.  The 28-year old right-hander has spent eight seasons pitching professionally making stops at six different St. Louis minor league affiliates, two separate trips to MLB spring training with two different organizations, three different independent league clubs, and hurled in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and now Australia during the offseason.

After all this, Heyer still has the drive to keep pushing along and take advantage of any opportunity to make that goal come true.  He signed a 2019 contract with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association, making this his fourth indy ball team in the last three seasons.

I reached out to Kurt about taking some questions on his recent tour of duty in Australia.  He played with one former Springfield teammate in Mikey Reynolds, on the Adelaide squad, and pitched against former St. Louis Cardinal Pete Kozma.

This is the third edition of Kurt Heyer from....wherever.

Joshua Jones: How do you feel about the past couple seasons, having pitched in the indy ball circuit?

Kurt Heyer: 2017 is a season I wanted to put behind me. I was at the lowest part of my career. But 2018 was a huge turnaround for me in terms of throwing striking and going deep into games.

J.J.: Do you still have a goal to pitch in the Major Leagues?  Any other goals for the coming 2019 season?

K.H.: Of course I’m still shooting be a big leaguer. The thought of retiring hasn’t even entered my mind. I’m aiming to get picked up by a affiliated team. 2019 is going to be exciting as I’m heading to the American Association to play for the Milkmen.

J.J.: What went into the decision to pitch in Australia instead of returning to Venezuela or Dominican Republic?  Were there any offers from Latin America?

K.H.: I wanted to travel to a new country and play baseball in Australia. I never got contacted from Venezuela or the DR. No offers lol

J.J.:  What did you intend to work on while pitching in Australia?

K.H.: I wanted get more innings under my belt and continue working on my Changeup.

J.J.:  What was the atmosphere like while pitching in Australia?  Fans/club embrace you?

K.H.: The atmosphere was the same as back in the states. Great fans and teammates. The club was first class and made feel like a real Aussie.

J.J.:  What were the similarities/differences pitching in Australia compared to Venezuela and Dominican Republic?

K.H.: Obviously there was no language barrier haha. The competition was great. I don’t think people realize that there are still MLB prospects sent to Australia where they can hone their batting and pitching.

J.J.:  What were the living arrangements like in Australia?

K.H.: Most of the imports either lived in apartments near the beach or some in the city. I stayed in the city with the other import pitchers.

J.J.: Did you do any sight seeing or take part in any activities in Australia?

K.H.: I tried to sight see as much as I could. I went to Bells Beach in Geelong and got to see the Indian Ocean. There was never a dull moment in AUS. There were also plenty of kangaroos.

J..J.:  Did you have to make any adjustments, living wise, while on your stay in Australia?

K.H.: living in the city was pretty simple. Getting a routine down was easy as there were many places to go and eat.

J.J.:  Was there anyone there that helped you settle in?  (I see you're playing with former teammate Mikey Reynolds)

K.H.: The imports stuck together for the most part. We all experienced everything at the same pace. I hung with Mikey quite a bit. He doesn’t want to leave haha

J.J.: What's it like getting to pitch against former Cardinal Pete Kozma?

K.H.: Pitching against Kozma was a great test to see how your stuff plays against a professional. I love pitching against guys like him.

J.J.:  Are at all disappointed you couldn't reach the majors with the Cardinals or Marlins?

K.H.: I think everyone gets a little disappointed with not making it with the team you started out with. But at the end of the day there are 30 teams and you just need to one to like you.

J.J.:  Would you recommend the ABL to other players?

K.H.: I would highly recommend young players to start their careers in AUS. For guys who don’t get a shot right off the bat it’s a great experience. You can’t go wrong with Australia. I might come back depending on my situation after this upcoming season.

Past Installments:
Kurt Heyer from Dominican Republic 2015 
Kurt Heyer from Venezuela 2016

Kurt Heyer on Twitter

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-12-19: Rangel Ravelo Hit .267 In The Caribbean Series; Luis Garcia Named Mexicali Manager

Caribbean Series:

Final Stats:
Allen Cordoba (former Johnson City-Herrera) played in five games going 7-for-18 (.389) with three RBIs, seven total bases, three runs, one walk, one stolen base, four strikeouts, .450 OBP, .389 SLG, and .839 OPS.
Rangel Ravelo (Memphis-Lara) played in four games going 4-for-15 (.267) with four total bases, two runs, one walk, .313 OBP, .267 SLG, and .579 OPS.
Audry Perez (former St. Louis-Estrellas) played in two games going 1-for-5 (.200) with one RBI, one total base, one strikeout, .167 OBP, .200 SLG, and .367 OPS.
Yariel Gonzalez (Peoria-Santurce) played in two games going 0-for-4 (.000) with one walk, one strikeout, and .200 OBP.


Pedro Rodriguez (former MiLB signing-Lara) made three relief appearances posting a 0-0 record, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, and one save.  He allowed one hit, no runs, and one walk over 3.2 innings.
Hector Hernandez (former Palm Beach-Santurce) made one relief appearance posting a 0-0 record, 0.00 ERA, and 0.00 WHIP.  He allowed no hits or runs over 0.1 innings.
Nestor Molina (former MiLB signing-Lara) made one start posting a 1-0 record, 0.00 ERA, and 0.80 WHIP.  He allowed four hits, one unearned run, and struck four out over five innings.
Harold Arauz (MiLB signing-Herrera) made two starts posting a 1-0 record, 0.90 ERA, and 0.90 WHIP.  He allowed seven hits, one earned run, two walks, and struck eight out over ten innings.
Ivan Maldonado (former MiLB tryout-Santurce) made one start posting a 0-0 record, 1.42 ERA, and 0.95 WHIP.  He allowed five hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck one out over 6.1 innings.
Raul Valdes (former St. Louis-Estrellas) made one start posting a 0-0 record, 6.23 ERA, and 1.85 WHIP.  He allowed seven hits, three earned runs, one walk, hit one batter, and struck two out over 4.1 innings.
Vicente Campos (former MiLB signing-Lara) made three relief appearances posting a 0-0 record, 6.75 ERA, and 3.00 WHIP.  He allowed four hits, three runs (two earned), four walks, hit one batter, and struck one out over 2.2 innings.
Tyler Herron (former Springfield-Santurce) made one relief appearance posting a 0-0 record, 20.25 ERA, and 2.25 WHIP.  He allowed three hits, three earned runs, and struck one out over 1.1 innings.

Notes:
Mexicali named Luis Garcia (former New Haven) their manager for the 2019-20 season: XEU Deportes

Herrera was told after the Caribbean Series win that they did not qualify for bonus: Panama American

Monday, February 11, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-11-19: Harold Arauz Strikes Out Four & Allows One Run Over Five Innings For The Win; Allen Cordoba Singles, Walks, & Drives In One Run; Jose Leon Talks About Coaching Herrera

Caribbean Series Championship:

Alfredo Despaigne (Granma-Las Tunas) started in left field and batted fourth.  2-for-4 with one double and one run.
Carlos Benitez (Granma-Las Tunas) started at second base and batted seventh.   1-for-3 with one two-out RBI, two strikeouts, and assisted in one double play.
Livan Moinelo (Pinar de Rio-Las Tunas) entered in the seventh and pitched 1.1 innings.  He allowed no hits or runs, and struck one out.  (p-s:10-9)(g/f:2-1)(ir-s:1-0)

Allen Cordoba (former Johnson City-Herrera) started in left field and batted third.  1-for-3 with one RBI, one run, one walk, and one stolen base.
Harold Arauz (MiLB signing-Herrera) started and pitched five innings.  He allowed four hits, one earned run, and struck four out for the winning decision (1-0).  (p-s:72-56)(g/f:9-0)

Herrera beat Las Tunas 3-1
Panama American Post Game
TV Max Deportes Post Game

Notes:
Jose Leon (former Palm Beach-Herrera MGR) helped coach Herrera to the championship: El Nuevo Dia

Alfredo Despaigne (Granma-Las Tunas) and Lazaro Blanco (Granma-Las Tunas) were named to the 2019 Caribbean Series All-Star team: LVBP Official Site

Angel Ovalles (St. Louis Latin scout-Cibaenas GM) will begin the search for the new manager of Cibaenas: Listin Diario

The Confederation did not confirm if Panama would return: El Nuevo Dia

The Confederation is still discussing adding Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia: El Nuevo Dia

Lara received big support from the Venezuelans living in Panama and many players like Nestor Molina (former MiLB signing-Lara) were surprised: El Nuevo Dia

Herrera will not receive a cash prize for reaching the Caribbean Series finals: TV Max Deportes

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-10-19: Luis Mateo Collects Five Hits & Two RBIs In Two Games; Pedro Rodriguez Pitched One & Two-Thirds Scoreless Innings & Held One Inherited Runner On Base; Rangel Ravelo Singles Twice



Coliceba Championship (Puerto Rico):

Luis Mateo (former Memphis-Orocovis) 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run.

Aibonito beat Orocovis 16-15 in 10 innings (2/2/19)

Luis Mateo (former Memphis-Orocovis) 2-for-4 at the plate.

Aibonito beat Orocovis 8-6 (2/9/19)
Coliceba Official Site Post Game
Aibonito wins the series 4-2


Caribbean Series:

Rangel Ravelo (Memphis-Lara) started at first base and batted third.  2-for-4 and assisted in one double play.
Vicente Campos (former MiLB signing-Lara) entered in the fifth and pitched 1.1 innings.  He allowed one hit, one unearned run, and three walks.  (p-s:23-11)(g/f:3-1)(ir-s:1-0)
Pedro Rodriguez (former MiLB signing-Lara) entered in the seventh and pitched 1.2 innings.  He allowed one hit, no runs, and one walk.  (p-s:24-13)(g/f:3-1)(ir-s:1-0)

Yuniesky Larduet (Las Tunas) started in centerfield and batted leadoff.  3-for-5 with two runs and one stolen base.
Alfredo Despaigne (Granma-Las Tunas) started in left field and batted fourth.  1-for-4 with one two-out RBI, one run, one walk, and grounded into one double play.
Carlos Benitez (Granma-Las Tunas) started at second base and batted seventh.  1-for-1 with one two-out RBI and three walks.
Yurisbel Gracial (Matanzas-Las Tunas) started at third base and batted eighth.  2-for-4 with one double.
Lazaro Blanco (Granma-Las Tunas) started and pitched five innings.  He allowed five hits, no runs, three walks, threw one wild pitch, and struck five out for the winning decision (2-0).  (p-s:113-71)(g/f:4-4)
Yoennis Yera (Matanzas-Las Tunas) entered in the sixth and pitched 1.2 innings.  He allowed one hit and no runs for the hold (1).  (p-s:28-16)(g/f:1-3)
Raidel Martinez (Pinar del Rio-Las Tunas) entered in the eighth and pitched 1.1 innings.  He allowed one hit, no runs, and struck two out for the save (2).  (p-s:29-20)(g/f:2-0)(ir-s:1-0)

Las Tunas beat Lara 3-0
Baseball de Cuba Post Game

Yariel Gonzalez (Peoria-Santurce) entered late in the game as a pinch hitter and batted seventh.  0-for-1 at the plate.
Hector Hernandez (former Palm Beach-Santurce) entered in the eighth and pitched to one batter.  He allowed no hits or runs.  (p-s:4-3)(g/f:0-1)

Allen Cordoba (former Johnson City-Herrera) started in left field and batted third.  1-for-3 with one run and one strikeout.

Herrera beat Santurce 1-0
TV Max Deportes Post Game

Notes:
Roberto Alomar (former Tampa Bay) feels positive about the deal between MLB and Cuba: El Vocero

Sunday's Championship Game:
Cuba (2-2) visits Herrera (3-1) @ 4:00 PM ET

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-9-19: Allen Cordoba Collects Three Singles & One RBI

Caribbean Series:

Allen Cordoba (former Johnson City-Herrera) started in left field and batted third.  3-for-4 with one two-out RBI and one strikeout.

Estrellas beat Herrera 5-3
LIDOM Official Site Post Game

Rangel Ravelo (Memphis-Lara) started at first base and batted third.  0-for-4 with one walk and assisted in one double play.
Vicente Campos (former MiLB signing-Lara) entered in the fifth and pitched to six batters.  He allowed two hits, two earned runs, one intentional walk, and hit one batter.  (p-s:11-5)(g/f:2-0)(ir-s:2-2)

Jalisco beat Lara 9-4
LMP Official Site Post Game

Notes:
The Cuban team will face off against El Salvador next weekend: Diario de Cuba

Saturday's Games:
Lara (2-1) visits Las Tunas (1-2) @ 1:00 PM ET
Santurce (0-3) visits Herrera (2-1) @ 7:00 PM ET

Friday, February 8, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-8-19: Audry Perez Drives In One Run; Rangel Ravelo On Playing In LVBP

Caribbean Series:

Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus-Las Tunas) started as designated hitter and batted third.  1-for-5 with one double, one RBI, one run, and one strikeout.
Alfredo Despaigne (Granma-Las Tunas) started in left field and batted fourth.  1-for-4 with one double, one RBI, one walk, one hit by pitch, and one strikeout.
Yordanis Samon (Granma-Las Tunas) started at first base and batted fifth.  3-for-5 with one pick off and assisted in two double plays.
Vladimir Garcia (Ciego de Avila-Las Tunas) entered in the first and pitched 6.2 innings.  He allowed four hits, one earned run, and hit one batter.  (p-s:72-47)(g/f:10-5)(ir-s:2-0)
Raidel Martinez (Pinar del Rio-Las Tunas) entered in the eighth and pitched 2.2 innings.  He allowed two hits and no runs.  (p-s:37-27)(g/f:5-2)

Jalisco beat Las Tunas 3-2 in 11 innings
LMP Official Site Post Game

Audry Perez (former St. Louis-Estrellas) started at catcher and batted ninth.  0-for-1 with one RBI, one sac fly, one throwing error, and allowed four stolen bases.
Raul Valdes (former St. Louis-Estrellas) started and pitched 4.1 innings.  He allowed seven hits, three earned runs, one walk, hit one batter, and struck two out.  (p-s:69-48)(g/f:3-5)

Estrellas beat Santurce 5-4
LIDOM Official Site Post Game

Notes:
Frank Robinson managed Culiacan (Mexican Pacific League) during 1977-78 season: LMP Official Site

Frank Robinson played for Ponce and managed Santurce in Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia

LVBP suspended Gabriel Perez (Gary-Aragua) for 30 games after failing drug test: Aragua Official Site

Rangel Ravelo (Memphis-Lara) talks about playing in Venezuela and his baseball career: El Emergente

Friday's Games:
Herrera (2-0) visits Estrellas (2-1) @ 3:00 PM ET
Lara (2-0) visits Jalisco (1-2) @ 8:00 PM ET

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cardinals Winter League Notebook 2-7-19: Pedro Rodriguez Strikes Out One Over One Hitless/Scoreless Inning For The Save; Allen Cordoba Singles Twice & Drives In One Run; Ivan Maldonado Strikes Out One & Allows One Run Over Six & A Third Innings

Caribbean Series:

Freddy Alvarez (Villa Clara-Las Tunas) started and pitched six innings.  He allowed three hits, one unearned run, one walk, and struck three out for the losing decision (0-1).  (p-s:71-54)(g/f:7-5)

Rangel Ravelo (Memphis-Lara) started at first base and batted third.  1-for-3 with one run and grounded into one double play.
Pedro Rodriguez (former MiLB signing-Lara) entered in the ninth and pitched one inning.  He allowed no hits or runs for the save (1).  (p-s:12-8)(g/f:2-0)

Lara beat Las Tunas 1-0
LVBP Official Site Post Game

Allen Cordoba (former Johnson City-Herrera) started in left field and moved to second base, batting third.  2-for-5 with one two-out RBI, one run, and grounded into one double play.

Yariel Gonzalez (Peoria-Santurce) started at first base and batted seventh.  0-for-3 with one walk, one strikeout, and assisted in two double plays.
Ivan Maldonado (former MiLB tryout-Santurce) started and pitched 6.1 innings.  He allowed five hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck one out.  (p-s:70-46)(g/f:8-3)
Tyler Herron (former Springfield-Santurce) entered in the seventh and pitched 1.1 innings.  He allowed three hits, three earned runs, and struck one out for the hold (1).  (p-s:24-16)(g/f:2-1)(ir-s:1-0)

Herrera beat Santurce 8-7
TV Max Deportes Post Game

Notes:
Nestor Molina (former MiLB signing-Lara) has been announced as the starter for Lara in the final game: El Emergente

Raul Valdes (former St. Louis-Estrellas) is scheduled to start Thursday: Estrellas Official Site

Cuban players wait to sign with MLB teams: El Nuevo Herald

Las Tunas will change up their batting order and add Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus-Las Tunas): Pelota Cubana Blog

Thursday's Games:
Jalisco (0-2) visits Las Tunas (1-1) @ 3:00 PM ET
Santurce (0-2) visits Estrellas (1-1) @ 8:00 PM ET