KC Royals: Bubba Starling Crushing Arizona Fall League


KC Royals prospect Bubba Starling is continuing his 2015 breakout at the plate by hitting .308/.326/.558 with four home runs in 14 games in the Arizona Fall League (AFL). His performance bodes well for the Kansas City Royals, with starting outfielders Alex Gordon and Alex Rios free-agents this winter.

The 23-year-old Starling is a former no. 5 overall draft pick in 2011, who has struggled at the plate until this season. This spring, Bubba Starling slashed .386/.471/.614 at the difficult High-A Wilmington and quickly earned promotion to AA NW Arkansas. Starling then went on to post a solid .254/.318/.426 for the Travelers.

This season represented a vast improvement in Bubba Starling’s hit tool when you consider that he hit .241 and .218 the prior two seasons.

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Starling’s athleticism and defense are considered outstanding and well-ahead of his offense. Bubba Starling is one of the most gifted athletes in the KC Royals system. From Gardner, Kansas, Starling turned down a full scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska when the Kansas City Royals offered him $7 million to choose baseball.

Bubba Starling’s strong showing in the AFL is particularly encouraging because it comes against other top prospects. The league exists as an instructional league for top prospects to work on particular aspects of their game in front of top scouts and personnel men around major-league baseball.

The vast majority of prospects in the AFL are AA and AAA players, with a smattering of lower-level talent thrown in.  Starling told MLB.com’s Jim Callis:

"“You’ve got guys that have been in the big leagues, September callups, and guys that have been up in Double-A and Triple-A, little more above me,” Starling said. “Just talking to them, being around them, playing with them, you’re learning. You’ve got coaches out here from other organizations and rovers coming in, and you just learn a lot from all of them."

Starling is part of a contingent of seven Kansas City Royals prospects who have been playing in Arizona while the big club was busy in the playoffs. The entire list is:


Bryan Brickhouse

Brooks Pounders

Andrew Edwards

Kevin McCarthy

Position Players:

OF Bubba Starling

C Zane Evans

2B/SS Ramon Torres

Bubba Starling’s Arizona success could factor into the KC Royals approach to filling outfield holes this winter. With Starling on track to be ready for a major-league job in either 2016 or 2017, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is likely to limit his search to stop gaps for at least one corner outfield position next season.

Next: KC Royals Odds For Signing Each Of Their Free-Agents

Stay tuned KC Royals fans, Dayton Moore will sort out his outfield issues over the next eight weeks.