Though Kansas City really wanted to draft a pitcher in the first round of the baseball draft, the selection of local kid Bubba Starling means the Royals are commited to keeping top local talent in the area. This is something of a change from recent years.
It really began last year when the Royals took another talent Kansas high school pitcher by the name of Jason Adam. Said to be asking a lot of money, Kansas City selected him anyway and worked him into the fold. Selected in the 5th round last season, all Adam has done is get off to a 2-0 start with a 1.85 ERA and .90 WHIP through his first four games at Class A Kane County.
Though they are different players, Starling being selected by the Royals reminds me in many ways of the Atlanta Braves taking slugger Jason Heyward a few years ago. Heyward was a local high school kid from Georgia, and the Braves orginization has scouted and drafted local high school players for a long time.
Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star believes that the Royals drafting Starling is a potentially huge deal. And it certainly is. Mellinger speaks of movie script endings and Starling possibly being the greatest Royals player since George Brett. Of course many of us read the same things six seasons ago when Kansas City plucked Alex Gordon out of Nebraska, and though Gordon has turned out to be a decent major league player, he has never lived up to the hype surrounding his draft selection.
For now I'm just going to go with what I know, Starling is a great baseball player and hopefully becomes even better as he evolves out of his teenage years. But unlike what happened with Gordon, I'm not going to crown Starling as anything yet. Let's have the story play out on the field, and hopefully it will have us all smiling in the end.
However I will pass along a quote from Royals Scouting Director Lonnie Goldberg, when he spoke of Starling last evening after the selection, courtesy of Baseball America-
"We got the player we wanted, we got the most electric athlete and player in the draft, and it just happened to be in our backyard as well," Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said in a conference call. "Obviously, his athleticism and probably his competitiveness and his desire to be a Royal as well, so it fit all of our needs. He's got raw power, he's got speed, he's got a plus arm. You name it, pick one. He's got a lot of them."
You can view Starling's full scouting report and video on MLB.com.
Look for more information on Royals draft coverage throughout the day.