Since going 5th overall in the 2011 draft, Gardner has been waiting to welcome their hometown hero to the K. It’s been a rocky road, as Bubba Starling has dealt with several injuries that stalled his pro ball development. His ability in the outfield has never been in question. Gardner citizens remember his blazing speed (Blazer speed?) tearing up and down the football field. A cannon for an arm completes his outfield resume.
The issue has been in his offensive abilities. This year, as of May 6th, the former first round pick is slashing .351/.393/.455 with two home runs, eight RBI, and five stolen bases in 77 at bats with the Stormchasers. In other words, Bubba is tearing it up in Omaha.
And the timing seems right, too. The Royals, though stacked up and down the roster with talent, haven’t been able to put together a win-loss record that reflects their component parts. The odds of post season play this year are very slim, unless something magical happens to the bullpen. This is a great year to bring up some of their young talent and start to gel the Royals of the future.
The only question is where to plug him in to the line-up. Replacing Soler would be a tough argument to make at this point. Duda would be an easier decision, but Duda hasn’t been playing full time. Putting Bubba in place for a part-time gig straight out of Omaha wouldn’t be prudent. The best option would appear to be to trade the base-stealing Hamilton in July. This would open up center field for Starling.
We’ll leave that decision to Ned Yost, but the Edge staff is planning on sitting by the fountains in July.