Scouting Prospect #41: Bubba Starling

We recently released our annual top 100 prospects list here at Scout.com, and to follow that up we will be providing team quality first-hand scouting reports on select prospects from that list over the course of the off-season. Here's a scouting report on prospect #41 from that list, Bubba Starling.

Name: Bubba Starling
Position: Outfield
Team: Kansas City Royals
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 180
Bats/Throws: R/R

Events Scouted: Under Armour All-American/Instructional League

Physical Description

Starling just has projection written all over him. He's a long, wiry athlete that has the potential to fill out into a physical specimen in the next few years. He's a plus-plus athlete that can do just about anything on a baseball field.

Hitting

All the components are in place for Starling to be a prolific offensive force. He gets outstanding extension, he has tremendous strength, and he uses his hands exceptionally well. And, there's nothing unnatural or mechanical about him. But, it is going to take some time for him to develop. He may initially have some strikeout issues as a pro, and his swing mechanics will need to be worked on. He's not just a power threat. This is a guy with potential to hit for average as well.

Power

The present power is perhaps the biggest difference between Bubba Starling and other toolsy young outfielders in the minors. Starling made Wrigley Field look like a Little League park at the Under Armour All-American and showed power that played to the deepest parts of the park. That very same power showed up in fall instructs in Arizona. His game power is still catching up to the raw power, but he has the look of a 30 run bat at the next level.

Speed

Bubba Starling is a plus runner. He has the long legs to make running look very easy and graceful. He runs better underway but still should a good stolen base threat as a pro. His speed makes him a threat in all aspects of the game.

Fielding

Starling has everything needed to play center field in the big leagues. He has a plus-plus throwing arm, plus speed, and gets good jumps on balls in the gaps. Tracking the ball down comes easy to him with his long strides. He's a future plus defender at the big league level.

Summation

The term five tool player gets thrown around quite a bit. Bubba Starling has the potential to be in that exclusive club. He's not a five tool player yet, as his hit tool needs refining at the professional level. But, his raw power, speed, defensive abilities and arm all grade out near the top of the 20-80 scale. Patience will be required with his development but the upside is as good as it gets. He proved this fall that he's still crude but his tools are very much for real.

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