Minor League Prospect Note: Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals outfield prospect Bubba Starling cranked his 10th home run yesterday for Burlington in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Overall, he's hitting .277/.368/.514 in his pro debut, with eight doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 32 RBI, 23 walks, and 63 strikeouts in 177 at-bats. He's also stolen nine bases in 10 attempts.
Drafted in the first round last year, the outfielder out of high school in Gardner, Kansas, has performed in line with his scouting reports this summer: he's showing plenty of power, uses his speed well, will take a walk, and his defense in center field draws strong reviews. On the negative side, he strikes out a lot, and it remains to be seen if his pitch recognition and plate discipline skills will hold up at higher levels. He turned 20 this month, a little older than ideal for a guy just a year out of high school, but he has fewer baseball reps under his belt than many high school guys, given his multi-sport, small school, cold-weather background.
Basically, there's no change in status here: Starling's strengths are obvious, and while his weaknesses haven't been severe enough to prevent him from being successful in the Appy League, he hasn't done enough to erase concerns about those weaknesses either. He remains a high-upside, high-risk prospect and his rating for me is steady at Grade B+.