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Bubba Starling on first year: 'I've gotten so much better'

Kansas City Royals prospect Bubba Starling is pleased with his first year as a professional baseball player.

G. Newman Lowrance

Kansas City Royals prospect Bubba Starling is pleased with his first year as a professional baseball player -- despite falling short of unrealistic expectations levied by fans.

As is always the case with prospects, minor league numbers mean very little. What matters is how Starling's skills set progressed, and how he mentally and physically survived the season.

If Starling's own thoughts are any indication, the Royals ought to be pleased with Starling's first professional season.

"Overall, I think, yes, it was a good year. Definitely. From starting out in spring training until now, I've gotten so much better. Defensively and offensively. And I know I'm not there. There are still adjustments I need to make, definitely.

"But I think that will come."

Starling was one of the more raw players available in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, and his statistics reflect that. Starling hit .278/.371/.485 in the Rookie Appalachian League. Though those numbers are fine, Starling did strike out 70 times in just 200 at bats, which is where the "rawness" of his game bleeds through.

Still just 20 years old, Starling is very young, and could easily blossom into one of baseball's top prospects in the next year or two. The tools are certainly there, and now it's up to Starling and the Royals to further develop the talented outfielder.