For Kansas City Royals fans anxious to see Bubba Starling hitting in the bigs, you're in for a long ride. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says the Royals are likely to take significant time before Starling ever gets a chance to make it that far, to ensure that such a "toolsy" project ends up making good on all of the details needed at the Major League level along the way.
"There is a slim chance that Starling’s athletic prowess will mask some of the deficiencies in his skill-set, but the likely outcome in 2012 won’t be all that appealing for most fans, at least on a statistical front. The toolsy freak has a wide gap between his present and his future, and it’s going to take several years before the 19-year-old is able to put those physical gifts into a baseball context.
"I would guess that the Royals want to keep the training wheels on for his first season, focusing on the fundamentals of the game in extended spring training before a short-season assignment. If pushed too aggressively, the immaturity of the hit tool could lead to substantial exploitation at the plate, and taking a BBQ approach with such a gifted player (slow and low) could pay big dividends in the end."
The good news is that if the Royals strike a deal with Alex Gordon, they're likely to be set for years in the outfield anyway. Gordon and Lorenzo Cain and Wil Myers all look like they'll be situated if the front office allows them to be. That will allow Starling to blossom at his own rate.