Quick lookahead to the 2019 NWA Naturals: Yep, looks good

Good news for those of you that live in the Northwest Arkansas area, the Naturals ought to be a lot of fun to watch in 2019. The Wilmington Blue Rocks didn’t make the playoffs in  2018, but they came really close, and a lot of the guys on the 2018 Blue Rocks team ought to be headed to NWA in 2019. Let’s take a look at some players who are virtual locks to begin the 2019 season in AA:

  • DJ Burt
  • Emmanuel Rivera
  • Gabriel Cancel
  • Meibrys Viloria
  • Rudy Martin
  • Andrew Beckwith
  • Gerson Garabito

That’s a pretty good group. Burt, Rivera, and Cancel are legitimate prospects on the infield and Rudy Martin may be the fastest player in the organization. Meibrys Viloria has already gotten a cup of coffee in the big leagues and will soon be headed to the Arizona Fall League to further his development. Andrew Beckwith has a chance to emerge as one of the best bullpen prospects that the Royals have, and Gerson Garabito made a case to be the Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018. Those guys are all virtual locks to begin 2019 in NWA. Let’s look at some guys who may not be looks, but have a decent chance to get the promotion this off-season:

  • Dan Tillo
  • Andres Sotillet
  • Travis Jones
  • Blake Perkins

Two legitimate starting pitching prospects, a former Texas Longhorn that won’t stop hitting, and an elite defender in CF with + speed. Yep, that’ll certainly be fun to watch. Now let’s add in some guys that were in AA last year, but will probably be returning to NWA to gain some more experience before being promoted to AAA Omaha:

  • Khalil Lee
  • Nick Heath
  • Grant Gavin
  • Cristian Castillo
  • Walker Sheller

There’s 16 guys that will give Royals fans plenty of reasons to make the trip to Springdale, Arkansas, next summer. Top prospect Khalil Lee would be reason enough, but can you imagine how much fun that outfield is going to be? Nick Heath, Khalil Lee, Rudy Martin, and Blake Perkins can all absolutely FLY. Like, all of them have at least 65-grade speed. Goodness. There will also be some guys that start there seasons in A+ Wilmington that could reasonably earn a promotion in the middle of the season, much like Khalil Lee and Nick Heath in 2018, let’s look at those names:

  • Nick Pratto
  • MJ Melendez
  • Brewer Hicklen
  • Daniel Lynch
  • Jackson Kowar
  • Brady Singer
  • Michael Gigliotti
  • Kyle Isbel
  • Seuly Matias

Uhh, yeah. The Naturals are gonna be fun to watch next year. The only locks to play in AA in 2019 on that list, in my opinion, are Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Brady Singer, Kyle Isbel, Michael Gigliotti, and Brewer Hicklen. The college guys. There’s a chance that none of the high school/international kids see time in AA. The Royals put an emphasis on minor league playoffs, so that could be a factor, but I hope that they make that playoff push in the Texas League (AA).

There are plenty of other intriguing names that I didn’t mention. Chase Vallot, Nolan Watson, and Bryan Brickhouse to name a few, but the guys that we know will see time in AA next season are going to be a ton of fun to watch. They’re so close. The next wave is going to feel so close to the big leagues by the end of 2019. You’ll probably see some of them in 2020, but I wouldn’t expect the majority of them to arrive until 2021. In any case, make sure to plan a vacation to Springdale next summer, because there’s gonna be some really good baseball there. All summer.

One thought on “Quick lookahead to the 2019 NWA Naturals: Yep, looks good

  1. Pingback: Royals Rumblings – News for September 14, 2018 | VegasPicks.com

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