Matt Pobereyko, a former Minor League Baseball pitcher who played for the Sioux City Explorers from 2019 to 2022, has died suddenly after experiencing a heart attack, according to his team. He was 31.
The Saraperos de Saltillo, a professional baseball organization in the Mexican League, confirmed Pobereyko’s passing in a statement on Twitter, saying the Hammond, Indiana, native had a great winter season with the team and rose to the position of “punch king.”
Hector Gomez, a former Major League Baseball insider, said Pobereyko had pitched in the Mexican League this offseason.
“Former Mets minor league pitcher Matt Pobereyko passed away at the age of 31 due to a heart attack,” Gomez wrote on Twitter. “He had pitched in the Mexican League and Dominican Winter League this offseason.”
A number of teams have offered their condolences after learning about Pobereyko’s death, including the Explorers and St. Paul Saints.
“Words cannot express the grief and sorrow we feel today for Matt’s family, friends, teammates and his fans,” Steve Montgomery, manager of the professional Iowa-based team, said in a statement.
“He truly loved being an Explorer and being a part of this community,” Montgomery added. “He was as fierce of a friend as he was as a competitor. We will miss him as a baseball player, but even more so as a friend.”
The Explorers said Pobereyko died on Feb. 24, although the official Minor League Baseball website shows the veteran pitcher died on Feb. 26. The team, meanwhile, also noted that Pobereyko’s “exact cause of death is still unknown,” despite many teams and reports stating he died after suffering a heart attack.
Pobereyko played with the Explorers for three seasons, appearing in a total of 74 games. He collected 38 saves and totaled 153 strikeouts to only 25 walks, according to the team. In 2019, Pobereyko was named a South Division American Association All-Star.
The St. Paul Saints described Pobereyko in a statement on Twitter as “an incredible teammate and fierce competitor” who will be missed by everyone who knew him.
“It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the passing of former Saints pitcher (’20) Matt Pobereyko,” the Minnesota-based team said.
Born in Indiana on Dec. 24, 1991, Pobereyko attended Kentucky Wesleyan College before progressing to Minor League Baseball.
Prior to his contract with the Explorers, the right-handed pitcher played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016, as well as for the New York Mets organization as a free agent in 2017.