Let's take a look at the Naturals Opening Day roster for 2011.Rotation:
- Chris Dwyer- Dwyer is to be the Opening Night starter for the Naturals. I want to see him log a full season's workload and continue to improve upon his command. Could see Kansas City at some point this season, but will likely split the year between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
- John Lamb- Lamb climbed three level in 2010. If he can hit three levels in 2011 he'll find himself in the Bigs. This is possible, but there will have to be plenty of openings ahead of him. First, Lamb needs to go back to Springdale and show the stuff and command that led to dominance in Wilmington and Burlington.
- Edgar Osuna- Osuna posted a 6:1 K:bb in the Texas League a year ago, as a soft tosser he needs to continue to silence the doubters by posting top notch results.
- Heath Rollins- Rollins came over in the Minor League phase of the Rule V draft via the Tampa Bay Rays. Typically these players are non prospects, however this doesn't seem to be the case for Rollins since many commented that the Royals just added another Major League prospect to the bunch.
- Will Smith- Perhaps with a proper development strategy and a good progression plan Smith can turn himself into a top lefty prospect. He still has a long way to go, but last season's postseason starts for the Naturals and success in Wilmington were great building blocks.
- Eric Basurto- Needs to improve on his command, but is a decent relief prospect.
- Buddy Baumann- I would rather see him in the rotation than Heath Rollins, but his future likely lies in the pen, so I guess it makes since for him to make the transition there now and get acclimated.
- Blake Johnson- At one point was a solid prospect, now more of an organizational guy. Nonetheless he'll be a reliable option for the Naturals as they look to repeat on their Texas League title.
- Patrick Keating- Keating garnered alot of praise in big league camp this Spring, he has big league stuff and with a strong season he could be in position to legitimately fight for a big league job next spring.
- Harold Mozingo- At this point I don't see him as more than a filler for Northwest Arkansas. Could drop to Wilmington whenever an arm there is ready for a promotion.
- Eduardo Paulino- If his stuff can play up more from the pen he could go from organization guy to big league prospect again.
- Mario Santiago- See above. I like his chance more than Paulino's his cutter could be a valuable asset in the pen.
- Brandon Sisk- Like the other big league prospects he'll need a great season to separate himself from the pack.
- Ryan Eigsti- Has never hit enough to be considered as a prospect. Good professional experience though should help with the staff.
- Salvador Perez- Perez is a guy I greatly look forward to seeing. I'm hoping for a breakout year with the bat. It will be important for the organization that he continues to step forward as the catcher of the future. If he regresses with bat the organization could be on the lookout for another option.
- Ben Theriot-Ben has had very good contact in his first year and a half in professional baseball. I'd like to see him to continue to hit and be a good back up catching option for the Naturals. He could also provide some innings at first as well.
- Jeff Bianchi- I'm excited to see Bianchi back on the field. He has to stay healthy and I hope to see him repeat his results from his last stint in the Texas League.
- Christian Colon- I can't wait to see this guy live again. At the futures game he looked extremely fluid at the shortstop position. He did make an error but in the replay I saw Seratelli's foot wasn't pulled from the bag. I hope the Royals leave Colon as long as possible. I expect him to compete for a Texas League batting title. Yes I said it.
- Mario Lisson- Can he translate his tools in the results? That's always been the question.
- Kurt Mertins- Should be a dependable veteran for the Naturals in 2011.
- Jamie Romak- I was impressed with his bat last season and he did hit an impressive home run in the futures game. I'm not sure how much of a prospect he is, but he is a good player for the Texas League.
- Anthony Seratelli- No matter what I put here, won't do justice to how Seratelli makes the Naturals better in 2011.
- Wil Myers- When I go down to Springdale this summer I'm going to keep a close eye on Myers in right. Some said that he overran Hosmer's flyball in the futures game but that isn't correct, he took the correct angle prior to it taking a wiked turn due to the wind at the ballpark that day. Oh yeah, I guess I'm a bit excited to see him hit too.
- Derrick Robinson- For whatever reason people don't get excited about Robinson's vast improvement that he showed with the bat last season. He led the Texas League in steals while hitting .286/.345/.380. If he can continue to show improvement hopefully more people continue to take notice.
- Tim Smith- Smith returns to the Texas League for the second time. He has consistently hit at the level but I just don't see future big leaguer. He has good contact but none of his other tools have impressed me.
- Nick Van Stratten- Good arm in the outfield, good contact, great walkup song.