Bubba Starling didn’t do enough in 2020 for the KC Royals to merit keeping him around past this season.
The Kansas City Royals learned a lot in 2020 and something they finally can come to terms with is that Bubba Starling is not going to be a part of their future plans, or at least he shouldn’t be. A lot of fans figured this out quite some time ago, but hopefully the organization comes to this realization if they haven’t already and let Starling go this offseason.
Starling, the No. 5 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, had a rough go of it in the minor leagues from injuries to inconsistencies to more injuries, but his dream finally came true and he made it to the big leagues in 2019. He didn’t do much that year, batting just .215 with four home runs and 12 RBI through 197 plate appearances.
The 2020 season was the last chance for Starling to show he could offer anything to this team and he didn’t do enough. He only appeared in 35 games, made 64 plate appearances, and finished the year batting well below the Mendoza line with a .169 average. That’s just not going to cut it, especially for a team who desperately needs to improve their hitting for their next run to the postseason.
If Bubba Starling wasn’t a first round pick, the KC Royals would have given up on him a long time ago.
That’s the nature of sports, as first and early round picks in general get a lot more opportunities to stick around and prove themselves. With Starling landing on the injured list two separate times this season and failing to contribute much of anything, it’s time for the Royals to cut their losses and let their former first round pick walk.
The Royals are set in the outfield even with Alex Gordon retiring, so it’s not like there’s much of a need to keep Starling around in those regards. They have Edward Olivares, Franchy Cordero, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier, Jorge Soler, Ryan McBroom, and Nick Heath already on their 40-man roster. Throw in that names like Kyle Isbel and Khalil Lee will hopefully be ready to contribute soon and the Royals are more than set in the outfield.
Bubba Starling had every chance to prove himself to this team, but unfortunately it’s time to move on from the potential good story Starling could have been and look toward the future.