One longtime affiliation is set to continue, as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Class AA; Texas League) are extending their relationship with the Kansas City Royals. The new player development contract (PDC) is a four-year agreement, meaning that the relationship between the two sides will run through at least 2020.
We are extremely proud to continue our player development contract with the Kansas City Royals.” said Naturals General Manager Justin Cole. “We have seen the Royals commitment to a world class player development system firsthand and were thrilled to the see so many former Naturals flourish on Kansas City’s 2015 World Series Championship team. Kansas City is a first class organization in all aspects and we look forward to furthering that partnership.”
The extension is a continuation of what will be entering a 22-year relationship during the 2016 season between Rich Baseball and the Kansas City Royals, while 16 of those years have been under the Glass family ownership. Prior to moving to Northwest Arkansas in April of 2008, the Wichita Wranglers had served as the Royals Double-A Affiliate in the Texas League since the start of the 1995 season while the Naturals have been a Royals Affiliate throughout their existence in Northwest Arkansas.
“We are very excited for the start of the 2016 season in Northwest Arkansas. Springdale has always provided a great environment for our players and we are proud so many of our major league players have played for the Naturals” said Royals VP/Assistant General Manager-Player Personnel J.J. Picollo. “Northwest Arkansas will continue to be an important stop in the careers of our future major league players.”
The Kansas City Royals began the 2016 season last night with a 4-3 win over the New York Mets. The Royals have reached the World Series in each of the last two seasons while claiming the crown last fall with a 4-1 series win over the aforementioned Mets. The Naturals meanwhile have won three North Division crowns over eight seasons and won the Texas League Championship in 2010. Fans in Northwest Arkansas have seen a lot of talent come through Arvest Ballpark as the Royals Opening Day roster included 13 former Naturals including cornerstone players Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera, and Yordano Ventura.