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Monday, June 6, 2011

Royals Select Bubba Starling 5th Pick MLB Draft

Starling, who lives just 30 miles from Kauffman Stadium, has the potential to be a great draw in Kansas City. His selection also could help erase the long-standing discontent, or maybe disbelief, around town over the Royals fanning on local talent Albert Pujols in the 1999 Draft.
Starling was the perfect fit for the Royals. MLB.com picked him as the fifth-best prospect in the Draft and the Royals had the fifth pick.
Derek "Bubba" Starling is a product of Gardner Edgerton High School.
As a senior quarterback, he ran for 2,377 yards and 31 touchdowns and threw for 790 yards and eight TDs. In three years he accounted for, oh, about 8,100 yards of offense and 97 touchdowns.
So it's obvious why the Nebraska Cornhuskers are very interested.
Goldberg not only scouted Starling in his baseball games. He saw him play football and basketball as well.
"Watching him move on the football field, watching him lead on the football field, watching his competitiveness on the football field. The same thing in basketball. He does things easy, things come natural to him," Goldberg said. "And he's translated it into baseball."
In his senior year for Edgerton's Trailblazers, he batted .481 and averaged a home run in every six at-bats despite a minor injury. In his last two high school seasons of baseball, he hit over .500 with 17 home runs. He played for the under-18 Team USA last summer and hit .339. Baseball America called him the No. 1 high school prospect and best high school athlete in the Draft.
Scouts were on his trail and among them were Royals area scout Blake Davis and regional cross-checker Mitch Webster, who spearheaded the Kansas City effort.
The Kansas City Star has been chronicling the saga of Starling for quite some time. The newspaper reported he went to a Royals game not long ago.
"I went to the Royals game and I was in just a polo and some khakis," Starling was quoted as saying. "People recognized me and I signed 13 autographs."
His is one of many stories that will be told this week as baseball continues to make its picks.
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 11 a.m. CT Tuesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Moore wasn't all that confident that the Royals would snag their homegrown product. But the four clubs lined up before them all took pitchers.
"We sweated this out until 10 minutes before we made the selection because he was in a lot of people's mix," Moore said. "He was in the mix at two [Seattle] and he was in the mix at three [Arizona], and so we weren't sure we were going to get to him."
The Bubba stories go on. Like how he threw 98-mph fastballs but decided to give up pitching this year.
"I thought he was much better as a position player," Goldberg said. "Obviously, he was a prospect as a pitcher if he wanted to do that. But I thought he made the right decision. He's gifted, a center-diamond player and a chance to hit 25-plus home runs and that was a better road for him."
Goldberg was asked about those 500-foot home runs. He remembered one whopper he saw Starling hit in a doubleheader after the other team got bored with walking him intentionally.
"I haven't walked them off personally, but that one might have," he said.
Will Starling sign with the Royals? The Royals have until Aug. 15 or, perhaps, until Nebraska football practice starts about two weeks before then.
J.J. Picollo, the Royals' assistant general manager of scouting and player development, had what he thought was a very good reason.
"This is home for him," Picollo said.

Story from kcroyals.com  http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110606&content_id=20116720&vkey=news_kc&c_id=kc 

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