SPRINGDALE (KFSM)--Naturals infielder Jack Lopez grew up around baseball. His father Juan was a bullpen coach or catcher for the Giants, Cubs and Reds.
<Late in my senior year [of high school] I was actually really close with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and they’d always text me. If I had a good game in high school, if I hit a home run, they’d always text me and they’d always be on top of me and just tell me to work hard and that’s something I’ll never forget," Lopez recalled.
The impact of those past experiences is noticeable every day, according to manager Vance Wilson. "For a guy like Jack to have that pedigree where he’s been around the pro game, knows how things work, obviously it’s one of the reasons he’s a true professional."
"It’s something you can’t even explain, being able to be in the same clubhouse as the Barry Bonds's, the Sammy Sosa's," said Lopez.
The 24-year-old is a versatile athlete and can play any infield position.
"He’s good at all of them. He’s actually had to play a lot of third base for us and done a great job. But he’s a middle infielder and second base or shortstop he’s great at both," said Wilson.
"I think it does help me, moving up being able to play at any position. It’s tough but it’s something that will help me," Lopez said about his defensive role. On offense? "Understanding the type of player I am, obviously not a home run hitter. Just going out there and doing my job, moving runners."
Wilson echoed that sentiment. "Realizing he’s a line drive guy who’s gotta move runners. He’s gotta be situationally good. And then again, defensively is his forte."
Lopez’s clubhouse leadership earned an All-Star nod and propelled Northwest Arkansas to the first half North division title. Through Sunday he's hitting .289 with 70 hits in 65 games, 30 runs scored, 18 RBI and 12 extra base hits.