Earlier in the week, the Double-A NW Arkansas Naturals announced their second Hall of Fame ballot. First baseman/DH Clint Robinson was last year’s first inductee. Looking at the six candidates, who would be your choice?
Former manager Brian Poldberg was the only manager the Naturals knew before his much deserved promotion to Triple-A for this season. Over his seven year managerial career with NWA (2008-2013), he was 495-485 (50.5% winning percentage). The Naturals best season came back in 2010, when they were the Texas League champions. They went an amazing 86-54. It didn’t hurt that Poldberg had some big league talent.
One of those eventual big leaguers was the Texas League Player of the Year in 2010. That was third baseman Mike Moustakas. Despite playing in only 66 games, Moose hit .347 with 25 doubles and 21 home runs. He scored 58 runs and drove in 76. He even had a .413 on-base percentage.
First baseman Eric Hosmer took over for NWA in the second half of 2010, as he was promoted from High-A Wilmington to the Naturals. In 50 games, he hit .313 with 14 doubles and 13 home runs. Hosmer drove in 35 runs and scored 39.
Back in 2008, first baseman/DH Kila Ka’aihue was the man in Springdale. The Texas League POY that season hit .314 in 91 games with 11 doubles and 26 homers. He scored 64 runs and drove in 79. The Hawaiian slugger walked 89 times compared to just 40 strikeouts for a .463 OBP.
Catcher Salvador Perez was solid with the Naturals in 2011. In 79 games, he hit .283 with 14 doubles and nine home runs. Perez scored 35 runs and drove in 43.
Outfielder (and reigning American League Rookie of the Year) Wil Myers had one of the minors’ greatest offensive seasons in 2012 (his final season with the Royals). Myers hit .343 with 11 doubles and 13 homers in just 35 games. He scored 32 runs and drove in 30. As much as I love Myers, I just do not think 35 games with a team is enough to be inducted into their Hall of Fame, especially with some of the other guys on the ballot.
My vote goes to Poldberg. I liked him when he managed Wilmington way back when and he did a great job mentoring the young Royals of today and tomorrow. Plus, he stayed with the organization for the last seven seasons without a chance of a promotion until now.
Kila or Moose would come in second for me.
So…who would you like to see get inducted?