Royals

Bubba Starling is swinging a hot bat for Royals’ Class AAA affiliate

Bubba Starling during a spring-training game against the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, Ariz.
Bubba Starling during a spring-training game against the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, Ariz. jsleezer@kcstar.com

A year ago, Royals minor-league outfielder Bubba Starling was hitting so poorly at Class AA Northwest Arkansas that the team promoted him in the hopes that a change of scenery would kick-start his season.

After an initial 10-game spurt showed promise, Starling ended up batting just .181 at Class AAA Omaha, which was worse than the .185 average he had at Northwest Arkansas at the time of his promotion.

Starling, who was the Royals’ first-round draft pick in the 2011 draft out of Gardner Edgerton High School, had a dreadful start to this season at Omaha. He hit .129 with 21 strikeouts in 19 games to open 2017.

But Starling has found his groove in May. Starling, 24, has a 12-game hitting streak batting .425 (17 for 40) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. He has struck out seven times and walked three times in that span.

“I’m seeing the ball pretty well right now,” Starling told Doug Harris of the Omaha World-Herald. “Not only me but other players on the team.”

It’s Starling’s best stretch since 2015 when he also had a 12-game hit streak with the Naturals.

On Sunday, Starling had a home run during the first game of the Storm Chasers’ doubleheader against Reno. Take a look:

The Royals have long said that Starling’s defense is excellent. He showed that on Sunday when he made this awesome catch:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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