Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Drafted fifth overall in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, Bubba Starling was quite the raw player. Yes, he had tremendous tools, but was far from a polished player and was quite the long term project. That did not stop Starling from being considered one of the top prospects in baseball before he even suited up professionally as part of the Royals system.
He had success with the Burlington Royals, posting a .275/.371/.485 batting line, hitting ten home runs and stealing ten bases. Those tools continued to tantalize, giving a glimpse as to what Starling was hoped to become. Needless to say, Starling remained a top prospect heading into the following year.
Since that time, Bubba Starling just has not lived up to his billing as a top prospect. After producing a disappointing .241/.329/.398 batting line with the Lexington Legends, Starling hit at a .218/.304/.338 rate. These poor numbers are not the result of bad luck with the batted ball, as his batting average on balls in play has been about league average.
At some point, the now 22 year old Starling is going to need to begin to show that he is, in fact, developing. At some point, these wondrous tools, which Starling still possesses, will need to translate into results. That time may be fast approaching.
Will Bubba Starling finally have success, or will he continue to struggle? His 2015 campaign could go a long way to determining whether or not Starling has the future that was expected.
Next: Can he stay healthy?