* I’d love to be a fly on the wall inside the draft offices of the Kansas City Royals today.
Actually, I’d never want to be a fly. Not with those weird legs and wings and those crazy-looking eyes. No, don’t want to be a fly on anybody’s wall.
Still, it would be interesting to hear what the Royals front office guys and scouting personnel are discussing today because they’ll have a very intriguing decision to make later today when the Major League Draft begins.
Kansas City picks fifth in what is regarded as a very good draft. There probably isn’t a Bryce Harper or a Stephen Strasburg in this draft, but the depth appears to be for real. There are a bunch of really good pitchers, from the high school and college ranks.
The Royals have choices and might well go with one of the arms – perhaps right-hander Dylan Bundy, a high schooler from Owasso, Okla. Bundy, by all accounts, is as close to a can’t miss prospect as there is in the draft.
But Kansas City has to resist the temptation to take a pitcher and pick Bubba Starling, who has one of the best names in the history of sports and could become an iconic player for a franchise that needs one. Oh, and Starling is from nearby Gardner, making him a hometown product. The Royals’ marketing gurus must be salivating at the prospect of Starling become a potential face (and name) of the franchise.
Starling already has a football scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska. He’s a throwback to a different era, an athlete so gifted that he could literally do anything he wants.
He throws the baseball in the mid-90s, but his future as a baseball player is likely in the outfield. He has the speed to cover center field and the arm to make runners think twice about taking an extra base. And he regularly clobbers the baseball, which obviously doesn’t hurt.
I’ve seen Starling play basketball, and he could definitely play at the high Division I level in that sport.
But I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t choose baseball, although you can bet the team that signs him will have to reach deep into its pocket book. Starling, with the scholarship to Nebraska as a fall-back, will command millions of dollars.
That doesn’t matter. The Royals have to pick him. They have to resist the urge to take pitching – nobody can get enough pitching – and go for a player who could potentially become a Kansas City legend.
The Royals have a bunch of good prospects on the way. Despite the American League Central standings, this is a team going somewhere.
They should pick up Starling, a player who will make Kansas City’s arrival that much more of a sure thing.
Imagine Kansas City passing on Starling and watching as he becomes one of baseball’s best players. Imagine that.
Of course, no player in this draft is a sure thing. Highly-drafted baseball players become busts all the time. It could, I suppose, even happen to Starling.
But I’m betting the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Starling becomes the star he’s destined to be. His name is Bubba Starling and he’s the real deal.