The Springdale Rotary Club in partnership with the NWA Naturals will host the Annual Spring Kick-off Event the Hot Stove Luncheon on Monday, January 16 at the Holiday Inn in Springdale. The event featured Naturals’ Manager Vance Wilson (2014-present) and Scott Sharp, the Kansas City Royals’ Assistant General Manager/Baseball Operations. They were on hand to greet fans and take questions during the Q & A session of the program. David Glass, the owner of the Kansas City Royals, also attended while Justin Cole, the General Manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, provided an update on Season 10 of Naturals Baseball.
Vance Wilson, Naturals Manager (2014-present)
Vance completed his third managerial season at the helm of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2016. It was another successful campaign as the skipper has now led the Naturals to back-to-back Texas League North Division Titles in 2015 and 2016. The Springdale, Arkansas resident is in his seventh season managing in the minor leagues in the Kansas City Royals organization and has amassed a regular season record of 381-457 with 187 of those wins coming over the past three seasons with the Naturals. Last season, Vance led the Naturals to a second half North Division championship with a 36-34 record and clinched it the North with a win over the Arkansas Travelers on the final day of the regular season. In the playoffs, Northwest Arkansas defeated the Springfield Cardinals in a thrilling five game series before ultimately falling to the Midland RockHounds in the Texas League Championship Series.
Scott Sharp, Assistant General Manager/Baseball Operations – Kansas City Royals
Scott Sharp just completed his second season as Assistant General Manager/Baseball Operations, being named to the position on January 5, 2015. He had previously served as the Director of Player Development during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He joined the organization on September 28, 2006 as Assistant Director of Player Development and was promoted to Director of Minor League Operations on August 1, 2008.
He joined the Royals after serving as an area scout for eight seasons with three Major League clubs. He was most recently with the Texas Rangers where he served as an area scout for two years and was responsible for North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Prior to joining Texas, he was an area scout for Pittsburgh for two seasons (2003-04) and the Los Angeles Dodgers for four years (1999-2002). He was named the Dodgers’ Scout of the Year in 2000. His first player signing was Eric Junge, who debuted with the Phillies in 2002.
Sharp began his professional career as a 25th-round selection of the Cincinnati Reds in 1994. He was a catcher in the Reds system through the 1997 season.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from The George Washington University, where he played four seasons as an infielder, catcher and pitcher.
A native of Sykesville, Md., he currently resides in Lee’s Summit, Mo., with his wife, Kimberly, sons, Hayden and Myers, and dog, Ella.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals will host the San Antonio Missions, the Double-A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres, on Thursday, April 6 at 6:25 p.m. for Opening Day of Season 10 of Naturals Baseball at Arvest Ballpark.