SPRINGDALE, Ark. — On Tuesday the Northwest Arkansas Naturals will begin their 2021 season. It is the first time the team is taking the field in nearly two years.
The 2021 team is headlined by Royals number one prospect Bobby Witt Jr. Witt Jr. is the seventh ranked prospect in all of baseball.
The 20 year-old shortstop spent 2020 at the Royals alternate site.
The Naturals begin the season in Little Rock before they return home to Arvest Ballpark on May 11th.
Joining Witt, Jr. in the infield for the Naturals will be right-handed hitters Dennicher Carrasco and Angelo Castellano, a Natural in 2019, as well as left-handed hitters Nick Pratto, the former 14th overall selection by the Royals in the 2017 Major League Draft, and Brhet Bewley and Clay Dungan.
The catching position will feature a couple of former Naturals in right-handed hitters Nathan Esposito and Freddy Fermin as well as the aforementioned MJ Melendez, a left-handed hitter who was selected by Kansas City in the 2nd round of the 2017 Major League Draft.
The outfield includes a couple of players familiar with Arvest Ballpark in right-handed hitters Dairon Blanco and Travis Jones as well as newcomers Brewer Hicklen, a right-handed hitter, and Rudy Martin, a left-handed hitter.
The preliminary roster features 13 pitchers, which includes 10 right-handed pitchers and three (3) left-handed pitchers. The pitching staff features righties Jonathan Bowlan, Dylan Coleman, Yefri Del Rosario, Peyton Gray, Jonathan Heasley, Alec Marsh, Andres Nunez, Carlos Sanabria, Collin Snider, and Stephen Woods, Jr. joining left-handers Derrick Adams, Josh Dye, and Marcelo Martinez. The pitching staff is full of fresh faces as none of the pitchers have made an appearance for the Naturals prior to this season.