Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Royals Sign Bubba

Just five or six minutes before the draft pick signing deadline the Royals agreed to terms with uber prospect Bubba Starling. The bonus is a club record $7.5 million that will be spread out over the next three seasons. The deal will prevent Bubba from playing football from Nebraska during that time and will commit him fully to baseball.

Bubba Starling had been a standout three sport star at nearby Gardner-Edgerton High School. There he averaged nearly 30 points a game on the basketball court, signed a National Letter of Intent to play quarterback at the University of Nebraska, and homered once every six at bats his senior season.

Starling seems to have all of the tools. He has a hose for an arm that has been displayed under the friday night lights and on the diamond. He has the wheels. He was clocked as having a 4.36, 40 yard dash. His power his legendary and he has never had a problem hitting for consistent contact.

He immediately becomes the toolsiest Royals prospect since Carlos Beltran, Bo Jackson or maybe even ever depending on your perspective. The hype is there. The excitement is there. Not to mention that he lives just right down the road from K.

During his progression up the ladder he is going to be scrutinized like no other Kansas City prospect has. The guy is said to have a mental toughness, and I hope this is the case because he will need it. It won't be easy to play for your hometown team and struggle. From this day forward he will always be under the spotlight.

Just because of his proximity to the K, and his hype the road was going to be tough. But now he joins a farm system that gets as much as any other in baseball. He becomes the face of the second wave. (A wave that is already looking very impressive in it's earliest stage.) He becomes critical for the Royals.

The pressure is on Bubba. The pressure is on the Royals. But the fact that the two sides agreed to a deal already avoids what could have been an incredibly ugly situation. Bubba signed for just $7.5 million. Obviously that is a club record bonus, but I say "just $7.5 million" because this is a smaller figure than virtually everyone predicted.

The Royals have had an impressive haul in amatuer talent this year. Bubba Starling joins the likes of Elier Hernandez, Adalberto Mondesi, Bryan Brickhouse, Cameron Gallagher, Kyle Smith, Jack Lopez, Patrick Leonard, Jake Junis and others as additions to that second wave.

I'm excited for this wave. But unlike the first one, if the Royals can't win at the Major League level soon Dayton Moore will not have the privilege of witnessing this wave cascade on to the Major League level. This is the wave that ideally will transition the Royals from having a short window for contention, to being a year to year team in the AL Central. We can only hope.

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