During my trip to Lexington I was able to see quite a few of Bubba Starling’s plate appearances in the three games that he played in. In that time it was evident that Bubba still has a couple of elite tools in his power and speed however I came away wary if he’ll be able to unlock those tools with enough contact to make a difference.
I’m just an amateur scout but it definitely seems like the hitch in his load combines with his less than ideal pitch recognition skills cause most of those contact problems. As you can see in the video the hitch occurs forcing his hands back which then makes him late despite elite bat speed. Perhaps the Royals are trying to fix that as it appears Bubba’s hands are held slightly higher in the Sunday video which occurred on his 2 for 4 performance. If they move those hands further up they can force him to eliminate the hitch and load more naturally.
The good is when Bubba makes contact it is extremely loud as evident with his HR off 1st round pick Pat Light and a few other pitches he unloaded on. On top of the big time strength with the use of my editing software Bubba was timed around a 4.08 from home to first on the groundout to third base which shows he still has above average speed. Those two tools are things normal players don’t bring to the table everyday and show that the Royals have a nice piece of clay to work from but the other problems show they are far from molding a major league player out of it just yet.
Let me know what you think in the comments section or via twitter @ClintScoles