It was announced today that SEVEN members of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals would be headed to play in the Texas League (AA) All-Star Game. The Texas League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:15 pm at Security Bank Ballpark in Midland, Texas.
The Texas League All-Star Game could be a significant date for some of the Naturals All-Stars, as it likely signifies the last time some of these Royals prospects will dawn the Naturals uniform. Here is your list of Naturals All-Stars:
- SS Nicky Lopez currently owns a slash line of .321/.394/.383 with 9 SB and a 113 wRC+ in 63 games with the Naturals. Lopez earned the call to AA around the same time last season, and I would expect the 2018 Texas League All-Star Game to be the last time Lopez wears a Naturals jersey, as he appears to be primed to head to AAA Omaha after the break.
- Fellow infielder Erick Mejia currently owns a .243/.311/.360 overall, but hit .297/.359/.466 in May after getting off to a rough start in April. Mejia has 4 HR and 18 SB to go with his slash line, and plays multiple positions on the infield well. He too could be looking at a promotion after the All-Star break, though that may require the Royals to move on from/demote a guy like Jack Lopez or Corey Toups, or both, which should be easy to do.
- OF Elier Hernandez owns an impressive .317/.354/.431 slash line on the season, but hit a monster .336/.374/.496 with 3 HR in the month of may. He also has 17 doubles and 8 SB on the season, and he also is looking at an eminent promotion after the All-Star break. Poor Northwest Arkansas. If all three of the aforementioned guys get promoted, that lineup is going to take a hit. Hernandez’ promotion could leave a hole for Kort Peterson though, which would help.
- Pitchers Jake Newberry and Foster Griffin both got the nod on the mound for NWA. Newberry has a 1.65 ERA and is striking out hitters at a robust rate of 11.85 batters/9 innings out of the bullpen for NWA. Griffin’s ERA isn’t quite as impressive at 5.63, but his FIP is a tidy 3.95 and he’s only allowing 2.18 BB/9 as a starter for NWA. In an offensively friendly league, Griffin’s numbers have swelled a bit compared to what you may normally expect.
- Catcher Nick Dini and IF Jecksson Flores also got the nod. Dini hasn’t hit as well since returning to NWA from Omaha, but he still has 2 HR and 16 RBI to go along with solid defense behind the plate. Jecksson Flores has been a nice little surprise for NWA this season, hitting .324/.386/.441 in 49 games with 3 HR and 10 SB.
Congratulations to this year’s All-Stars!