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4th July Special: Best American Imports
To celebrate the 4th July, we're taking a look at the best American imports in the Perth Heat's history since 2010
07/04/2018 1:38 AM ET
 (SMP IMAGES)

To celebrate the 4th July, we're taking a journey down memory lane to remember the best American imports in the Perth Heat's history since the re-birth of the Australian Baseball League in 2010.

Mike Ekstrom 2013-14 (5-1, 0.72 ERA)

To say Ekstrom was lights out during his time at the Heat would be a massive understatement. Through seven starts, the Portland native pitched to an impressive 0.72 ERA, giving up just four runs in 50.1 innings whilst fanning 57 batters. He kept opposing hitters to a mere .176 batting average and picked up five wins along the way to earn the Pitching Champion award in 2013-14.

Jake Fraley 2017-18 (.361 BA, 13 HR 39 RBI, 39 SB)

Record breaker. That's the best way to describe Fraley's time in the ABL this past season. Having broken the since season stolen bases with 39 (surpassing Jon Berti's previous record of 31), the Tampa Bay Rays prospect also broke the Heat's single-season home run record with 13 and took out the Helms Award - the first time a Perth player has done so since Tim Kennelly in 2011/12.

Jack Frawley 2011-2014 (11-3, 1.82 ERA)

Possibly the most consistent import the ABL has ever seen, Frawley led from the front during three standout seasons for the Heat. The Cleveland native racked up an impressive 11 wins in 20 outings to go along with three complete games, 79 strikeouts, a 1.82 ERA and two rings.

Mychal Givens 2011-12 (.352 BA, 15 SB)

One of the more unique baseball stories, Givens, who is now a lights-out reliever for the Baltimore Orioles cast a very different figure during his time in Perth. When the then 21-year-old prospect rocked up on Aussie shores, he was a slick infielder, playing second, third and shortstop. In his one season in Heat colours, Givens slashed .352 with 15 stolen bases to go along with an ABL Championship and selection to the All-Star Game.

Mike McClendon 2014-15 (5-1, 1.66 ERA)

During one dominant year for the Heat, McClendon led the ABL with a 1.66 ERA in nine games, striking out 40 batters whilst leading Perth with five wins. Although he had a more difficult time of it in the playoffs (0-1, 5.73 ERA), the Texas-pitcher helped the Heat to their most recent ABL title.

Brandon Tripp 2013-14 (.333 BA, 10 HR, 41 RBI)

One record that Jake Fraley wasn't able to reach was the Heat's single-season RBI tally. That honour goes to Tripp after he drove in 41 runs in 46 games in 2013-14. The outfielder showed great power at the plate too, smashing 10 long balls whilst hitting for average at an impressive .333. 

Virgil Vasquez (4-3, 2.60 ERA)

A rare ABL journeyman, Vasquez has played for three teams over six seasons. It was Perth, however, where the former big leaguer made his mark on the league, striking out 64 batters to the tune of a 2.60 ERA across two seasons. Since leaving the West, Vasquez had a stint with the Adelaide Bite before moving to the Melbourne Aces where he currently acts as their pitching coach.

Ronnie Welty 2010-11 (.309 BA, 10 HR, 24 RBI)

Welty was one of the stars during the inaugural ABL season, hitting .309 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs to guide the Heat all the way to the title. 

Robbie Widlansky 2010-11 (.325 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI)

Like Welty, Widlanksy shone during the inaugural ABL campaign, hitting .325 to lead all Heat hitters. His league-high 15 doubles and low strike-out rate made him a favourite during his time in Perth, and the Florida first baseman has a ring to remember his time down under.

Joey Wong 2013-2017 (.263 BA, 5 HR, 53 RBI)

Arguably the most popular Heat player of the re-born ABL era, Wong took the league by storm, hitting .290 in his first campaign in 2013-14 before backing it up with an even better 2014-15 season where he hit .301. The now New York Mets minor leaguer will be most remembered for his epic diving catch against the Adelaide Bite in the 2014-15 Championship Series, a year after winning the MVP for his efforts against the Canberra Cavalry.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.