January 31, 2013 - Texas League (TL) - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
SPRINGDALE, AR - Three players with Northwest Arkansas Naturals ties are among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects for the 2013 season. The Kansas City Royals, the parent club of the Naturals, also had three players among the top 100. The Top 100 Prospect List, which ranks the top prospects in the game according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo based on input from scouts, scouting directors and others in the baseball industry, was released on Tuesday night.
Pitcher Yordano Ventura was named the No. 59 prospect and is the only one of the three Naturals Top 100 players who is still in the Royals organization. After being called up to the Naturals on July 10, Ventura was 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in six starts. Ventura's first Naturals win was in his final start of the season in the opener of a doubleheader at North Little Rock on Aug 31. In 16 starts with Advanced-A Wilmington, Ventura was 3-5 with a 3.30 ERA and 98 strikeouts. Ventura was the starting pitcher for the World team in last season's SiriusXM Futures game, throwing a hitless opening frame. Ventura is a candidate to begin the season with the Naturals.
In addition to Ventura, two other Royals farmhands were named to the list. 2011 first-round draft pick Bubba Starling was rated the No. 26 prospect. In his first professional season with Rookie-Advanced Burlington (N.C.), Starling had a .275 batting average with 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 33 RBI in 53 games.
Pitcher Kyle Zimmer was named the No. 34 prospect. Zimmer, Kansas City's top pick in the 2012 draft, spent time with both Rookie-level Surprise and Class-A Kane County. Zimmer was 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts with Surprise and was 2-3 with a 2.46 ERA in six starts with the Cougars. Zimmer had 42 strikeouts and eight walks in 39 2/3 innings pitched.
Outfielder Wil Myers was named the No. 4 prospect for 2013. Myers spent all of 2011 and the first month of 2012 with the Naturals. In 2011, Myers batted .254 with 23 doubles, eight home runs and 49 RBI in 99 games and was named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star. Myers began last season with the Naturals and quickly proved that he had mastered Double-A. In 35 games, Myers batted .343 with 11 doubles, 13 home runs and 30 RBI. Myers, who was promoted to Triple-A Omaha on May 16, was the Texas League Player of the Week for April 30 and is the among the franchise leaders in doubles, home runs and batting average.
Myers continued his memorable 2012 season with the Storm Chasers, batting .304 with 24 home runs in 99 games. For his efforts, Myers was named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year. Although Royals fans got to see Myers at Kauffman Stadium during the 2012 SiriusXM Futures Game, Myers' next appearance in Kansas City will be in a road uniform as he was traded to Tampa Bay on Dec. 9 for James Shields and Wade Davis.
Pitcher Jake Odorizzi was named the No. 45 prospect. Odorizzi made seven starts for the Naturals in 2012, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.32 ERA. Odorizzi set the franchise record with 11 strikeouts in a game against Springfield on April 23 and tied the mark against Tulsa on May 5. Following his promotion to Omaha on May 18, Odorizzi went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games.
In 2011, Odorizzi was 5-3 in 12 starts with a 4.72 ERA after a promotion from Advanced-A Wilmington. Odorizzi, the starting pitcher for the U.S team in the 2012 SiriusXM Futures Game, was traded along with Myers to Tampa Bay on Dec. 9.
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. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.