Kansas-native Bubba Starling has already secured his place among the best baseball names of all-time, and if he plays his cards right he could find himself as an early pick on day one of the 2011 MLB draft.
There are very few things that Starling can’t do.
He’s a three-sport athlete with serious college potential in all three. He’s already accepted a scholarship to play football (quarterback) at the University of Nebraska, where he’ll also star for the Cornhuskers baseball squad. And he’d probably walk-on for the hoops team if the coaches would let him.
As a junior, Starling passed for 1,400 yards, rushed for another 1,400 and scored 37 total touchdowns on the gridiron leading his Edgerton squad to the state championship game. On the court, he helped guide the basketball team to the state semifinals. And on the baseball field, Starling is Baseball America’s number one high-school prospect.
It’s no wonder he’s drawn comparisons to fellow three-sport star Carl Crawford, who received scholarship offers from three different schools in three different sports.
Like Crawford, it is most likely on the diamond, where ESPN’s baseball guru Keith Law calls him an “obnoxiously talented baseball player,” that Starling’s brightest future lies.
At six-foot-five and a chiseled 200 pounds, Starling looks the part of a professional ballplayer. And if being a three-sport star isn’t enough, he also goes both ways in baseball, utilizing a rocket arm that can fire 90-mph bullets, and quick hands and a sweet stroke that allow him to launch pitches out of any park.
Starling could be intriguing to some teams for his on-the-mound potential, but he has true five-tool talent as a position player, that position likely being in the outfield, which will make him hard to pass up in the first-round.
Coaches, both his and opposing, call him the fastest player they’ve ever seen. He’s been clocked in the 4.36 range in the 40-yard dash, and is graded as a plus-plus runner. And that might not even be his best tool. He has out-of-this-world power, and can mash with the best of this high school class.
And of course, his arm strength grades out as top notch. His high-school football coach once tested his arm by having Starling throw a pass from his knees, expecting him to be able to heave it about 30 or so yards. Sterling blew everyone away and launched the ball an incredible 55-yards.
While his bat speed is ridiculous, his hitting ability still needs some work and his swing could use some cleaning up, but Starling has all the potential to be a Crawford-like impact player at the plate as well, only with the chance for 10-15 homers more than the former Ray outfielder. Some scouts feel he has Josh Hamilton potential.
If he fully commits himself to baseball and can begin to improve his hitting technique, Starling should be a top-five talent.