Kansas City Royals: Bubba Starling is hurt again

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Bubba Starling #99 poses during Kansas City Royals Photo Day on February 27, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Bubba Starling #99 poses during Kansas City Royals Photo Day on February 27, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

News broke on Friday that Kansas City Royals hopeful Bubba Starling was removed from a game due to injury. Again. It seems as if Starling is going to be on the same path as another form first-round pick of the Royals.

Stop me if you have heard this before, but Bubba Starling is injured with a suspected oblique strain. In his game with the Storm Chasers on Friday, Starling left early for precautionary reasons with an oblique injury. Something he just recently returned from.

The Kansas City Royals 5th overall pick in the 2011 draft seems to find his way to the disabled list every year. This year was a year that fans were hopeful because of the imminent rebuild to finally see Starling in the bigs. If that is still going to happen, it seems like we are going to have to wait just a bit longer.

Starling seemed to have turned the page a bit this year. So far in Omaha, he has hit .257/.350/.314 over 11 games. As much as those numbers don’t scream improvement, the fact that he had averaged .183 and .247 the previous two years, maybe they could have improved upon his start to the season.

The harsh reality

Unfortunately, it does not look like Starling is going to be a Kansas City Royal in his career. Not only is his bat still a bit rough, slashing a .235/.310/.380 over 2,204 at-bats and 613 games over seven years, but he can’t stay healthy. If he can’t stay on the field, then he can’t improve offensively.

Defensively he has been a player writers and officials rave about. His speed and defensive abilities are two of his biggest attributes. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to get him to the big leagues.

The Royals are going to have to take a hard look in the mirror. They already made a tough choice to Designate for Assignment Kyle Zimmer, another former first-round pick. This allowed the Royals to replace him on the 40-man roster with someone more productive and healthy. It seems like the Royals are going to have to make the choice with Starling as well now.

They can’t have Starling on the 40-man roster and continuously have him on the DL. In a new era of rebuilding, they need to see what player can do in the big leagues. If Starling isn’t going to be healthy, teams aren’t going to pick him up off waivers. This would allow the Royals to stash him in the minors still, just like Zimmer, while giving his 40-man spot to someone else.

Possible solution

This was brought up to me and I liked the idea. Starling seems to struggle at the plate, and being in the outfield requires a lot of running which results in his frequent injuries. Perhaps it’s time to think about a position change. And I’m not talking about another fielding position.

Starling was a QB in high school and had a scholarship to play at Nebraska as a QB. That means he probably has a decent arm. Being an outfielder, especially a center fielder, also means you have to have a decent arm. Perhaps Starling should consider switching to the bullpen.

Changing positions could be the change he needs to reset mentally. It would also be less taxing on his body than being a fielder/batter. This could help with the injuries, and the Royals would be able to utilize the first-round pick, rather than have to swallow the pill of him being a bust.

Final Thoughts

As it stands, I don’t think anyone should hold their breath on Starling making it to the big leagues. The consistent injuries have stifled his chances of making that jump. Unless something changes, I think we might have to have the conversation of Starling being a bust and no longer think “what if”.

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What do you think Royals fans? Should Starling be DFA’d? Should he consider a position change? Is he a bust? Let us know below!