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Comments on Royals prospects Bubba Starling, Josh Staumont

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Bubba Starling
Bubba Starling
Walter B. Bernard

Here are a couple of excerpted rough-draft player comments from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book.

Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-4 WT: 210 DOB: August 3, 1992

Bubba Starling continues to make incremental progress. He’s developed into an outstanding defensive outfielder. He was not as aggressive with his running last year but this hasn’t hurt his defense thanks to excellent instincts and a strong arm. His power production is improving and he made progress cutting back on an over-aggressive and sometimes awkward swing last year, particularly against left-handed pitching. On the other hand, he still strikes out once per game and goes through long stretches where sub-standard pitch recognition holds him back, leading to significant offensive cold spells. Starling’s defense, improving power and draft pedigree will get him to the major leagues soon, but his OBP and batting average will be very low without further improvement in his approach. He still has star-caliber tools but while the baseball skills are better than they used to be, they still aren’t where they need to be. I do think he’s made enough progress to warrant an upgrade to Grade B-, but the risk of failure remains high.

Josh Staumont, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 200 DOB: December 21, 1993

Staumont was drafted in the second round last June out of Azusa Pacific University. Second round, yes, but with a top-of-the-draft fastball, clocked as high as 100 MPH and consistently in the mid/upper-90s with movement. His curveball has some wicked spin. Some sources say he has a non-terrible change-up that needs more polish but could be decent in time, while others say he doesn't have a change-up at all. We'll split the difference and say it needs work. His amazing K/IP and H/IP ratios provide sabermetric confirmation for the terrific stuff reports. Alas, his pitches have so much movement that he can’t locate them consistently. So far his ERAs and overall results have been good simply because he’s so tough to hit, but at higher levels the walks will become more and more of a problem. Staumont has the physical build to start and the change-up may have enough development potential to make him viable in that role, IF he can do something about the free passes. Ultimately he may wind up something like Bobby Witt, if you remember him, who had tremendous stuff but never quite put everything together into a consistently successful package. It says a lot about how much natural talent you have when you can throw 2465 innings and win 142 games and still be considered a disappointment, as Witt did and was. Nowadays a guy like Witt would likely be sent to the bullpen to develop as a closer and that may be Staumont’s ultimate fate. Grade B-.