AA – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (2-4)
Also opening Thursday night, the Naturals played their opener at home against the San Antonio Missions, the AA team of the San Diego Padres. Starting Opening Day was Zach Lovvorn, making his Naturals debut. He made a good first impression, pitching 6 innings, allowing one run.
The Naturals had to wait until their second game to score their first run of the new season. It was scored on an RBI single by one of the returning Naturals, Frank Schwindel. The new acquisition from the Cubs, Donnie Dewees went 2 for 4 in this game. Look for him to be a big part in the KC Royals future.
The Naturals ended up losing 2 of 3 to the Missions. They would then lose 2 of 3 in their next series to the Corpus Christi Hooks. The Naturals offense did explode in their most recent game though, winning 12-3. It was a hit parade, as 5(!) Naturals had 3 hits. Dewees, Alfredo Escalera, Samir Duenez, Logan Moon, and Ruben Sosa.
The Naturals had a good first turn through the rotation. Corey Ray, Erik Skoglund, Christian Binford, and Kyle Zimmer all pitched well. The Naturals also got good work out of the pen by struggling prospect Miguel Almonte. He could become a bullpen factor for the KC Royals soon.
Overview: The Naturals were lackluster overall on both sides of the field. After their first two series, they ranked 3rd to last in the Texas League in ERA and 3rd to last in OPS.
Player of the Week – Donnie Dewees: I almost gave it to Frank Schwindel after posting a 155 wRC+. I gave it to Dewees tough because he impressed me in his first week in the Texas League, a pitcher friendly league. He showed a great eye at the plate walking 5 times and only striking out once. That ratio is good enough for first in the Texas League. Get excited about him.