A few days ago, I wrote about some draft possibilities for the Cubs in next month's amateur draft. Baseball America just came out with their first mock draft and they have the Cubs selecting outfielder and freak athlete Bubba Starling out of Gardner Edgington High School in Kansas. I put Starling at the top of my list because this is a player the Cubs have zoned in on in their scouting efforts. He's an exciting prospect that would have the Cubs farm system buzzing. Keith Law of ESPN called him, "an obnoxiously talented baseball player". If drafted by the Cubs, Bubba Starling would instantly become their #1 prospect.
Starling is considered a 5 tool player and has been compared to both Carl Crawford and Josh Hamilton...
1) Arm - Starling can throw in the 90s and could make it as a pitcher if he (or the team that drafts him) chooses that route. He can also throw a football 55 yards -- from his knees.
2) Speed - Starling has been clocked at 4.36 seconds in the 40 year dash and has been called by some coaches as the fastest player they have ever seen.
3) Fielding - With his great speed and rocket arm, Starling has all the tools to be a Gold Glove outfielder.
4) Hitting - The tool he needs most work on. He has a very sweet swing but he does have some holes. He's going to need some hitting instruction.
5) Power - Despite his great speed, Starling is no slap hitter. He is a big hombre at 6'5" and 200 lbs of solid muscle. He generates tremendous bat speed. Of all his tools, power is his best. He has the potential to be the best power hitter in this year's draft class.
So why in the heck would he last until the 9th pick?
1) Because Starling is such a good athlete that he has been offered a
scholarship to play QB at the University of Nebraska. He may not be
easy to sign because the man has options galore. He's even good enough
to play basketball at the Division 1 level. Most think his best sport
is baseball, however, and the Cubs haven't been shy about luring
athletes away from football in the past.
2) This draft is rich in top
college pitching. It's the safer route to take and many teams will be
looking to build with pitching.
3) His hitting is a bit raw and he
will need some development in that area. A great athlete doesn't always
make a great ballplayer. See my Cubs all-time worst draft picks and check out the name Earl Cunningham.
upside to Starling, though, is so intriguing that some team will take a
chance on him and hope he develops into the games next superstar. He's more than a high ceiling player -- his potential is through the roof. The
Cubs have lacked that type of player for a while now but, come next month, they
could have a couple of stars -- Starlin Castro and Bubba Starling --
that fans can get excited about for the next decade.