SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - It may have been opening day in the Majors on Monday, but things have yet to kick off for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. They held their first open practice as they gear up for the season Thursday.
"We've gone from up and coming team to now we've arrived for the most part," coach Vance Wilson said. "And now we just have to keep that going. That's our job at player development. We got to keep turning out prospects, turning out players to the major league level."
Several of those on the Naturals have been to the major league level, including a few who made the Royals roster last season.
"They now know what it takes. My biggest battle with developing players is I know what it's like to be in the big leagues, they don't, and how do you pass that experience," Wilson said.
But, it's not just the experience of those who made it to the big show that's going to help out this team. It's the veterans who've been in Arkansas that's going to contribute to a successful season.
"It's good for the guys who are new here, just because the veteran guys kind of know how the stadium plays," infielder Hunter Dozier said. "How the travel is, so we can kind of help them out with that. It's good."
Dusty Coleman wasn't wearing a Naturals uniform last season, but was playing in the league for the Midland RockHounds. There he had 18 home runs and 81 RBI's.
"Hopefully I can be productive offensively, drive in runs and be on base for some other guys to get some RBI's," Coleman said. "Just be a guy defensively who can go anywhere and provide solid defense. Make those pitchers feel comfortable, which is what i'm looking for. Just compete. Ready to win, and have some fun."
The Naturals will be back in Springdale next week for their on April 16th at Arvest Ballpark. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m.