NW Arkansas posted a preliminary roster at the end of March (so it could change before Opening Day). The Naturals roster is once again packed with prospects. There are 17 returning players from the 2010 Texas League championship team. The team opens the season at home against the San Antonio Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the SD Padres (and they should face top prospect pitcher Casey Kelly).
Prized lefties John Lamb and Chris Dwyer figure to anchor the starting rotation. Joining them in the rotation will be Edgar Osuna, Will Smith, and Heath Rollins.
Patrick Keating is expected to have the closerâ€™s role for the second straight season. Rounding out the rest of the Naturals bullpen include right-handers Eduardo Paulino, Mario Santiago, Blake Johnson, Eric Basurto, and Harold Mozingo, along with left-handers Brandon Sisk and Buddy Baumann.
The bulk of the catching duties will go to Salvador Perez with Ryan Eigisti and Ben Theriot splitting the backup duties.
The Royals first round draft pick in 2010 out of Cal State Fullerton, shortstop Christian Colon, will begin his first full professional season with the Naturals. Jamie Romak figures to get the bulk of the playing time at first base with Kurt Mertins and Mario Lisson splitting time at third base. Second baseman Jeff Bianchi returns after missing all of 2010 due to injury. Anthony Seratelli will show off his versatility all over the infield.
Wil Myers will begin his first season in the outfield and the speedy Derrick Robinson is expected to leadoff and play center field. Tim Smith and Nick Van Stratten fill out the rest of the outfielders.