The year of Bubba Starling is starting to begin.
If he can once again have the success at the plate that he was experiencing before the injury last year then this will be a good year for Bubba. He is in control of his future and could either be the Royals centerfielder in the near future or another DFA candidate. I hope it is the year of Bubba Starling, I hope he has great success and becomes the player we have been waiting for him to become
In a rather unexpected turn of events, Salvador Perez has unfortunately joined the Fun Police.
So to have Salvy of all people get upset at a player being animated….well it seems a bit hypocritical, right? Salvy’s excitement at playing the game of baseball is a feature, not a bug. It is one of the most endearing things about him. I mean, I don’t think you can call out a guy for being excited about a home run in a non-playoff game, then douse a teammate in Gatorade following your sixth win in 26 tries.
Over at Royals Review, Ryan Heffernon looks at the greatest bad Royals of all time.
Honorable Mention: Luke Hochevar
I’m not sure if a lot of Royals remember/care how bad Hochevar was. That’s what a successful move to the bullpen—see Wade Davis—and a championship ring will do for you. But thinking about what could have been had Kansas City selected Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer with the first overall pick in the 2006 draft still makes me cringe.
And then I looked at how April was a weird month for baseball weather and how it affected the Royals a lot.
And like most of Major League Baseball, the Royals have been hitting the ball harder than usual, putting up an average exit velocity of 88.4 MPH, which ranks in the top half of baseball. It’s early, but it’s a substantial raise from their 2016 average of 87.5 MPH and 2017 average of 87.0 MPH. It isn’t a stretch at all to say the Royals have put together a team better suited for harder-hit batted balls, as they rank third in all of baseball in Hard Hit%. But for some reason, the results aren’t showing for this offense.
KC Kingdom looks at how close Bubba Starling is to reaching the major leagues.
Initially it was that Starling couldn’t hit and now it’s injuries. Poor guy. He’s 25 years old and has been in the minors for over half a decade now. He just returned to action in Omaha and is batting .333 after his first three at bats. It’s still way too early to declare Bubba Starling ready, but the Royals might as well let him see some big league pitches this year.
Over at Minor League Ball, Asher Feltman looks at a post-hype prospect in Cincinnati Reds RHP Keury Mella.
Still just 24, Mella arrived in Cincinnati with plenty of hype and expectation after the trade, and has largely fallen off the radar due to his slower progress than other Reds pitching prospects who have developed a little quicker. Like Luis Castillo, also acquired via trade and thus similarly judged.
Ronald Acuña’s Hall of Fame chances are higher than you think, writes Jay Jaffe at Fangraphs.
Leaving aside the subjectivity that comes with labeling a player an “overall No. 1 prospect,” I should have remembered based upon my reading and research that any playing time in the majors at such a young age gives a player about a 5-10% chance at Cooperstown. Using the Baseball-Reference Play Index, here are the number of position players who had at least one season with a plate appearance at each age from 18 to 21 (using the June 30 cutoff convention) and the rates at which they reached the Hall of Fame: