Revisiting the 2011 draft and Starling’s place in it

Who is Brandon Nimmo? He is one of two position players from the 2011 draft that has not advanced past low Class A ball in the minors.

Unfortunately for Royals fans, the other is Bubba Starling.

Starling, who recently was named one of the biggest first-half disappointments among prospects by the website MLB Trade Rumors, has a slash line of .215/.305/.353 for Class A Lexington, and has just two hits in his last 29 at-bats. Starling, the fifth overall pick in 2011, does have 41 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and eight homers.

However, he has 86 strikeouts in 286 at-bats.

After batting .210 through May, Starling hit .250 with in June, but he’s slumped to a .158 mark in July.

Starling made news when he returned to Kansas City in May to have Lasik surgery. He was having trouble picking up the ball at night, according to the Royals, and that still appears to be a problem. Starling is batting .289 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 21 day games, but is hitting .188 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in night games.

Heading into the 2011 draft, the Royals were hoping to grab a pitcher as Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer and Dylan Bundy were the top prospects. Those four were all picked before the Royals chose at No. 5. They went with Starling, and so far things haven’t worked out as they’d hoped.

Incidentally, Anthony Rendon was picked by the Nationals after Starling. In 43 games this season, he’s batting .301 with three homers and 14 RBIs. Drafted as a third baseman, Rendon is also playing some second base.

Another note about that 2011 draft: The Blue Jays suffered the worst fate after they drafted right-hander Tyler Beede and he didn’t sign with the team.

Still, only six of the 33 first-round picks haven’t advanced beyond low Class A. Four are pitchers and the other two are Nimmo and Starling. By the way, Nimmo had a slash line of .261/.366/.350.

Here is a look back at the 2011 draft and how those players have fared:

Pick Name, Pos Team Advancement
1Gerrit Cole, RHPPiratesMajors
2Danny Hultzen LHPMarinersClass AAA
3Trevor Bauer, RHPD-backsMajors
4Dylan Bundy, RHPOriolesMajors
5Bubba Starling, OFRoyalsClass A
6Anthony Rendon, 3BNationalsMajors
7Archie Bradley, RHPDiamondbacksClass AA
8Francisco Lindor, SSIndiansClass A-Adv.
9Javier Baez, SSCubsClass AA
10Cory Spangenberg, 2BPadresClass AA
11George Springer, OFAstrosClass AAA
12Taylor Jungmann, RHPBrewersClass AA
13Brandon Nimmo, OFMetsClass A
14Jose Fernandez, RHPMarlinsMajors
15Jeb Bradley, LHPBrewersClass A-Adv.
16Chris Reed, LHPDodgersClass AA
17C.J. Cron, 1BAngelsClass AA
18Sonny Gray, RHPAthleticsClass AAA
19Matt Barnes, RHPRed SoxClass AA
20Tyler Anderson, LHPRockiesClass A-Adv.
21Tyler Beede, RHPBlue JaysDidn’t sign
22Kolten Wong, 2BCardinalsClass AAA
23Alex Meyer, RHPNationalsClass AA
24Taylor Guerrieri, RHPRaysClass A
25Joe Ross, RHPPadresClass A
26Blake Swihart, CRed SoxClass A-Adv.
27Robert Stephenson, RHPRedsClass A
28Sean Gilmartin, LHPBravesClass AAA
29Joe Panik, SSGiantsClass AA
30Levi Michael, SSTwinsClass A-Adv.
31Mikie Mahtook, OFRaysClass AA
32Jake Hager, SSRaysClass A-Adv.
33Kevin Matthews, LHPRangersClass A