The second half of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals season has been more successful so far. After a 20-43 start, they have won 13 of their last 20 games and find themselves in first place of the Texas League North Division in the second half.
The most recent home stand for the Naturals ended with a 4-2 record, something that manager Brian Poldberg is happy with. "We went four out of six this home stand and I'll take that every home stand and see what happens." said Poldberg.
One of the biggest reasons for this turn around is the bat of Brian Fletcher.
Fletcher is currently the 17th ranked Royals prospect on MLB.com and he is on a tear; his double late in the series opener against the Midland Rockhounds extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
While players like Matt Fields have rightfully been given praise, Fletcher's return to the lineup has been the catalyst for the Naturals offense this season. "When Fletcher came back, its when we started going. We finally got our three hole hitter back." Said Poldberg, "He's now here for us everyday, and he's been big for us."
June was the first month this season the Naturals really got the bats going, after struggling in the first two months, hitting .228 in April and .226 in May, Fletcher returned on June 8th and the team hit for a .283 average.
Fletcher has raised his batting average to .297 during this hitting streak, and in the 31 games he's played in this season, he has gotten multiple hits in nine of those.
Before the hit streak started, Fletcher was batting just .239, in the last 12 games he is hitting .373.
Fletcher certainly has a big league pedigree, he is the son of former major league player and current Atlanta Braves assistant Scott Fletcher.
Brian has hit the ball well everywhere he has played, from being a first team All-Southeastern Conference selection at Auburn in 2010, to being the Kane County Cougars player of the year in 2011.