Former Mets minor leaguer Matt Pobereyko dies suddenly at 31 at his off-season home

Long-time minor league pitcher Matt Pobereyko, who had recently become a top hurler in Mexico, died suddenly near Chicago, officials and shocked loved ones said Monday.

Pobereyko was 31.

Pobereyko was in his apartment, in a west Chicagoland suburb when he collapsed Friday and was later found by his girlfriend, the pitcher’s brother Daniel Pobereyko told NBC News on Monday.

The death on Ferry Road in Warrenville is still “pending further investigation,” a spokesman for the DuPage County Coroner’s Office said. It’ll likely take another 7 1/2 weeks for a formal cause of death to be determined, the spokesman added.

The pitcher was in good health and his passing came as a total shock to loved ones, Daniel Pobereyko said.

“He just dropped and that’s all we know,” the grieving brother 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.”

Pobereyko’s parents visited him earlier in the week and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“For what we know now, there’s really no leads,” Daniel Pobereyko said. “They saw him earlier in the week and he seemed to be perfectly fine.”

Pobereyko’s team first announced the pitcher’s death on Saturday.

“We report the unfortunate news of the death of Matt Pobereyko, due to a heart attack that ended his life,” said the statement by the Saraperos de Saltillo.

The team placed a wreath on the pitcher’s mound at Kuroda Park in Guasave and wrote the number 56 in chalk. The memorial included a handwritten message: “Thanks for giving so much joy.” 

The Hammond, Indiana, native played in college for Kentucky Wesleyan before embarking on a minor league career that included stops in the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins organizations.

He made it as high as the Mets triple-A team in Las Vegas in 2018.

In recent years, most of Pobereyko’s work had come in independent and Mexican leagues.

“He was an incredible teammate and fierce competitor, but an even nicer person,” according to a statement by the Saint Paul Saints, where Pobereyko pitched in 2020. “He will be missed by all that knew him. We send our love to his family and friends.

This past winter, Pobereyko pitched for Algodoneros de Guasave and led the league with strikeouts, fanning 73 batters in 70 1/3 innings.

His last competitive game earlier this month was pitching for Mexico in the Caribbean World Series in Venezuela.

Even at the baseball-advanced age of 31, Pobereyko still had dreams of playing at higher levels, perhaps in Asia if couldn’t make it back to the big leagues.

“He had his eyes on the Asian markets because he had thrown really well in Mexico so he was hoping for that at the very least,” Daniel Pobereyko said. “He still had really good stuff, and he was going to pitch as long as he did.”

Sandra Lilley and Polly DeFrank contributed.

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