Five Naturals Rank Among Circuit’s Top Prospects

Five Naturals rank among circuit’s top prospects
Odorizzi, Myers, Perez, Dwyer, Herrera all tabbed for list

SPRINGDALE, AR – While not quite as dominating as the 2010 Naturals, the 2011 Naturals still claimed five spots among Baseball America’s Top 20 Texas League prospects for the season. Only the league champion San Antonio Missions had as many players named to the list. The rankings were released Thursday.

For the Naturals, right-hander Jake Odorizzi (No. 5) was the highest rated player for Northwest Arkansas, while outfielder Wil Myers (No. 13), left-hander Chris Dwyer (No. 15), right-hander Kelvin Herrera (No. 16), and catcher Salvador Perez (No. 17) also made the list.

Unsurprisingly, outfielder Mike Trout (Arkansas Travelers), one of the top prospects across baseball who was voted as Texas League Player of the Year, topped the list. Former Diamond Hogs third baseman Zack Cox (Springfield Cardinals) was ranked 14th.

Odorizzi, who had a stellar first half of the season leading to his promotion to Double-A, was also named last week as the seventh-best prospect in the Carolina League. Two of the other four players – Myers and Dwyer – saw injuries (Myers) and early season struggles (Dwyer) affect their seasons, but both players turned in solid play down the stretch and made great contributions to the Naturals’ fourth-consecutive second-half division championship run.

Perez’ bat turned from solid to white-hot in July, and never cooled off even after a promotion to the big leagues in August that followed just a two-week stint with Triple-A Omaha. Herrera’s whirlwind season began in Advanced Class-A Wilmington, took him through the Texas League, including (along with Myers) an appearance in the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game, to Triple-A Omaha and then onward to Kansas City, where he made two late season appearances out of the Royals’ bullpen.

Last season the Naturals also had five of their players make the Texas League post-season Top 20 list. Four of those five players – Mike Moustakas (No. 1), Eric Hosmer (No. 2), Aaron Crow (No. 6), and Louis Coleman (No. 16) spent all or a significant portion of the 2011 season in Kansas City.

Baseball America’s League Top 20 lists are generated from consultations with scouts and league managers. To qualify for consideration, a player must have spent at least one-third of the season in a league. Position players must have one plate appearance for every league game. Pitchers must pitch one-third of an inning for every league game, and relievers have to have made at least 20 appearances in full-season leagues.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state of the art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. You can purchase tickets and group outings with the Naturals by calling (479) 927-4900.

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