OTC: Are Royals At Desperate Stage With Bubba Starling? / KK & Mike Boddicker Say Yes

“I’ve taken as much heat over this as anything I’ve said about the Royals this year. Bubba Starling is hitting .156 in low-A ball. I know a lot of people in our community know his family. … But he’s in his third year now and he was drafted as the top position player taken. I did not like that when the Royals did that and I said that very clearly when the Royals (drafted him). The Royals should be getting very close to making Bubba Starling a pitcher – because he can’t hit. … Bubba Starling is a complete disappointment.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: These words from Kietzman might seem harsh to some – especially Bubba’s family and those in the Kansas City area who know him well. But KK is doing what a big-city sports talk show host should do – telling it like it is – even when that means friends and family will hear his critical words. KK has never been a real fan of Bubba’s baseball talents or the way he conducted himself on his Nebraska football sojourn – but this isn’t about Kietzman out to hurt Bubba. This is Kietzman doing his job.

“I love (Bubba Starling’s) family. I don’t think he’s ever going to hit professionally. He didn’t hit in high school. I coached the Aquinas team against him. He didn’t hit us – and we didn’t have very good pitching. So if he couldn’t hit us in high school, he’s probably not going to hit big-league stuff. … Bubba’s an athlete. The bottom line is he’s never hit and he’s never going to hit.”
Mike Boddicker, former Orioles and Royals pitcher, 810 AM
GH: This probably is not easy for Boddicker. He likely knows Bubba and his family well enough for them to be hurt by his negative assessment of Bubba’s baseball shortcomings. Boddicker is not a talk show host like Kietzman. He doesn’t have to be edgy in his commentary. All the more reason to applaud Boddicker for being real with his comments about a young Kansas City talent many of us are rooting for to make it.

“I didn’t like the draft choice at the time. … I think the out for football made it tremendously risky.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“The Royals have a huge problem on their hands. This is a guy that they thought maybe could be here (in Kansas City) next year when Francoeur is done. … Royals – switch (Bubba’s) position right now! Make him a pitcher! You have two-and-a-half years to get something out of your $8.5-million you gave him. Or he’s going to go play (college) football. And he should play football.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK’s idea isn’t crazy or even unique. MLB prospects who can’t hit off-speed pitching but possess a mid-90s fastball have the option to move to the mound – especially when the club has so much invested in them. Will it happen? It might be a last-resort kind of move but you can bet it is being discussed by Dayton Moore and his staff.

“I’d crack a joke, but honestly, I hope this has been the problem all along. MT @pgrathoff: Bubba Starling returns to KC, may have LASIK.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, on the reports by The Kansas City Star that Bubba may be getting his eyes fixed, Twitter
GH: Remember what I said about moving Bubba to the mound being a last-resort move? Add eye surgery as the next-in-line when it comes to last-resort decisions.

“A lot of (MLB) scouts kind of cover their rear end. I’ve told some of them to their face that if you took away their stop watch and radar gun they wouldn’t know a ball player if it bit them in the ass! And that’s the truth!”
Mike Boddicker, former Orioles and Royals pitcher, while discussing how Bubba was viewed as a top-five pick by the Royals, 810 AM

“I can’t speak to (Bubba’s) dedication…but it seems to me if he was a real grinder and really, really, really working hard, there would be better results than we have now. But his numbers would suggest to you that there is something going on here as far as dedication.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This is where Kietzman lost me. He tries to soften his comment by starting out saying he “can’t speak to (Bubba’s) dedication,” but then goes right on and gives his damning opinion of the young man’s lack of commitment and dedication. If Kietzman knows something about Bubba slacking off in the Royals’ organization than tell us what he knows to be true. Otherwise, he uses his microphone to unfairly impugn the reputation of an athlete. This is why KK gets hate mail about Bubba. That’s what happens when you are unfair.

“To everyone who thinks pro ball is all sandy beaches and pooka shells- it aint. I feel hella lucky. I love my life. But im human. If yall wanna talk your shish ill be happy to come back at you and make u look foolish. What would u do? Appreciate my honesty or unfollow. but i just gotta call it like i see it. So get off me. Im not going anywhere. Life is great:).”
Danny Duffy, @DannyDuffy805, Royals’ pitcher who is currently rehabbing from Tommy-John surgery, Twitter
GH: Danny Duffy is a Twitter gift. He tweets like we all went to college with him. If you are not on Twitter, sign up and follow @DannyDuffy805. He’s that real and that rare.

“Can’t think of another club that would give a witty young DL’d pitcher the mic on twitter. Good for the Royals.”
Jeff Rosen, @jeff_rosen88, Twitter
GH: Amen. Props to the Royals for allowing Danny Duffy to be Danny Duffy. I have no idea how this will end, but I applaud them for allowing us to participate.

“It’s 12:26 AM and we have full phone lines after the 36th game of the season. I love you #Royals fans.”
Josh Vernier, @JoshVernier, after the Royals loss in Anaheim Tuesday night, Twitter
GH: There are a lot of baseball cities. St. Louis, Boston and Chicago are some great, great baseball towns. But when you consider the lack of population combined with the lack of recent Royals’ success – that makes this town stand out as a baseball-crazed two-state burg.

“So to hear George Brett say a few of the same things I’ve been saying nightly is a huge relief. … bit.ly/12yOOtZ.”
Josh Vernier, @JoshVernier, Twitter
GH: Interesting. Does it validate a sports talk host’s words when a famous athlete has the same opinion? Not to me. But I understand where a new young voice in the KC market would find comfort in that fact. I’m just not sure I would be so eager to share it.

“Just saw the new Star Trek. Holy. Freaking. Smokes. See it first chance you can. It’s why you go to the movies.”
Rich Eisen, @richeisen, Twitter
GH: The first Star Trek movie with the new young crew was one of the best movies I’ve seen the past three years. I watched it again last month and again marveled at how great a flick it was. Looks like us Trekkie nerds are in for another treat this weekend. May we all discover the secrets to our personal Kobayashi Maru.

[email protected] and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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24 Responses to OTC: Are Royals At Desperate Stage With Bubba Starling? / KK & Mike Boddicker Say Yes

  1. charlie says:

    Aquinas had probably 4 better hitters than Bubba, but I did see him hit a 500 foot homer on 75mph fastball down the middle with a metal bat.

  2. Mark X says:

    A broke clock is correct twice a day.

    KK gets this one correct.

  3. Splitlog Quindaro says:

    1. If your name is “Bubba Starling,” your name alone will boost your draftability. It sounds Hollywood.
    2. This was written on baseballnewshound.com in 2011——
    “””Because he’s such an exciting athlete, it’s easy to forget that the eighteen-year-old Starling is a relatively unpolished, high-risk prospect. As a multi-sport athlete, Starling hasn’t been able to concentrate on baseball full-time and because he’s played in a mediocre high school system, his game has flourished despite some rough edges. His swing has some holes in it and he isn’t comfortable taking outside pitches to right field. He can also get sloppy with his cuts, failing to stay inside the ball and forfeiting solid contact. He could also stand to do a better job of incorporating his strong core and legs into his hitting””””
    3. Baseball prospects seem much more unpredictable than basketball prospects.

  4. tigerdan4 says:

    It’s becoming more and more clear that Dayton Moore has been awful at the draft. Lets look at his 7 first round selections.
    One of the worst starting pitchers in baseball history who is now a mop up guy. Drafted him #1 overall. Ahead of names such as Evan Longoria and Tim Lincecum. (not sure if I spelled that right) A power hitting 3b who is still struggling to figure things out in his 3rd MLB season. Currently hitting below .200 and may need more time in the minors. A 1b with “lighttower power” who was a stud and could do it all. Still struggling to figure things out in his 3rd MLB season who currently hits like Mark Teahen with average defense at best. A stud starting pitcher from Mizzou who couldn’t hack it as a starter in the minors and is now a 7th inning guy. A shortstop with “Derek Jeter” leadership qualities who is currently hitting .230 in Omaha. Ahead of Chris Sale and Mike Trout, among others. A local legend who apparently can’t hit a lick. And the jury is still out on last year’s pick, Kyle Zimmer. I’m sure he’ll either flame out, come up and fail, or hit the DL for 2 years and need TJ surgery.

    I’m very concerned about the future of this organization. The next 2 years look ok at the MLB level but beyond that, yikes. They may have to go the Houston Astros route in 2015 and totally tear it down and just load up on prospects from other clubs.

    • brett says:

      TD:

      your point is valid, but you can’t hang hochevar on dayton. dayton didnt even take the gm job until the day after the 06 draft if memory serves me.

      i have said before that dayton’s legacy will depend heavily on the performance of our corner infielders- even more so than the shields/myer trade. to date, they have been unsatisfactory, but it’s not too late. should they both follow the path of alex gordon (AND we are able to sign them to extensions like we did with gordon) dayton will have a deservedly long tenure in this town. but if hos and moose continue on their current trajectory, i agree that it will be difficult to classify the dayton moore regime as a success.

      the starling pick cannot be defended. it was widely questioned even at the time of the draft. but if hos and moose turn into all stars, we will all forget the bubba pick.

      while dayton has had some poor draft selections, he has had some victories too. helping build the latin america program, which signed salvy perez. re-signing gordon and butler to below market contracts. and perhaps his greatest feat- getting lo-cain and escobar for a pitching malcontent that everyone in baseball knew we would lose to free agency the following year.

      my greatest concern with dayton is the same concern i had with the prior regime: the organization’s continued inability to develop effective starting pitching. kudos to dayton for cobbling together a decent rotation this year. but not ONE of our starting pitchers is home-grown talent. small market clubs cannot succeed without developing their own starting pitching.

  5. Richard Cranium says:

    I’m by no means a Nebraska sympathizer, but that Kietzman has a serious car in park at a park hardon for anything associated with that school. Clearly the KSU stated and NU debunked rivalry has left a emotional scar that can’t be healed. It’s sort of sad and glorious all at the same time. His jealousy and hatred fuels makes my inner child giddy.

  6. Richard Cranium says:

    Both fuels AND makes.

  7. Joe says:

    Monday morning quarterbacks…

  8. husker82 says:

    Just a brief note on the Hochevar pick. My recollection is that Moore was hired a few weeks before the draft, but let the staff go ahead and pick who they wanted, because he didn’t have time to evaluate. I thought this weird, even then, because wasn’t he evalutating prospects as part of his job in Atlanta? I was disappointed with the move then and nothing has happened in the meantime to change my mind.

    • GM says:

      Husker82 – your memory is close. Dayton was hired before the draft, but Atlanta stipulated that he couldn’t consult with the Royals about the draft, because of his work with the Braves on that draft.

  9. The Word. says:

    I hate to say it, but I think Bubba Starling was drafted because the Royals were tired of hearing how much they whiffed on ALBERT PUJOLS.

    Royals didn’t want to miss out on another local player in case Starling becomes an All-Star. And for Starling…he should of went to Nebraska. Yes, I wouldn’t of turned down the money too. But that might not means so much when he’s 35 out of baseball and all that baseball money is gone.

  10. The Smartman says:

    Bubber’s issue isn’t dedication it’s talent. Anybody, and there were many, that criticized or questioned his next level skills in high school got the hater, jealous tag. He was a really big fish in a really small pond.

    Physical size and athleticism only get you so far in sports. I say this after watching a 13 year old girl, who probably weighed 110 lbs, consistently hit her driver 250+ at the driving range today. You gotta have that “x factor” to really succeed at the highest levels. Look at Tim Tebow. He’s even trying to buy the “x factor.” It’s not for sale. Anybody seen Ty Tryon lately?

    KK’s issue is dedication AND talent. Don’t need either when mommy has money do ya Kevvy?

    Hopefully Bubber parked enough money in the right places so he’ll never have to get a real job. He can sit around the house listening to Bruce Springsteen sing Glory Days waiting for his name to be a question on Jeopardy.

    Hell, maybe he can walk on with Sporting KC.

    • Gassedup says:

      Smartman, whats the story about Kevin’s Mom’s money? I thought it was Jerry Greens money that bought the station?

    • Lou Brown says:

      Ty Tryon – forgot about that dude. His old man thought his progeny was the next Tiger.
      Too much pressure on that kid. Tiger had the talent and mental makeup to overcome the pressure – regardless of his many personal transgressions, a once in a lifetime talent.

  11. Ron says:

    If Bubba Starling played in a mediocre high school baseball league, what is an example of a strong baseball league in Kansas City area? Is there one? Is it possible that all teams should only draft players from California or Florida? I doubt it. George Brett was a mediocre player in high school and the minor leagues, and he did o.k. Give Bubba Starling some time to mature. A superb athlete should be able to succeed in baseball. Lesser athletes can play football or basketball if they can’t cut it in baseball.

    Dayton Moore used two of his draft picks to obtain Cain, Escobar, Shields and Davis. I’d say that makes them pretty good draft picks.

    • Splitlog Quindaro says:

      George Brett’s brother Ken actually received more accolades in high school than George, but George was also playing for the school located just south of LAX with the winningest high school coach in California history. Hardly the K-10 league. He was picked 29th overall. I think George was a less risky pick.

      • charlie says:

        My son played against bubba locally and played in national tournaments. We were 10 kids from the same high school plus 3 other kids. We were the #1 seed in a national tournament. We played 20 high school games and 100 + in the summer against the best competition nationally. All our kids also played football and half of them played basketball. Most kids in Florida, Arizona, Texas and Cali played baseballl exclusively so they may have played 200 + games a year. I asked a AZ coach when was their off season. They took 3 weeks off around the holiday.

        Playing in KC is not the issue. Maybe he can’t hit. Just like AAU basketball. They play 100+ games out of season. The only highschool sport that matters any more from a team perspective is football.

        Maybe he needs to try out for the decathlon.

  12. chuck says:

    Hell of a fuckin deal, Dayton thinks he is drafting the “Say Hey Kid” and he gets the Schofield Kid.

    That will not go “Unforgiven.”

  13. Bubba is a disapointment says:

    Bubba was a big mistake. Don’t take a guy just because he lives in the KC area. Not a smart move.

  14. Ultimate Dude says:

    I didn’t realize the Bubs was a KC product. I guess given his ks residence people feel the need to claim he’s from KC, MO. All kan’tsans feel the insecurity of being from an inferior state, so clam onto MO for everything not soccer or nascar. If you live in Gardner, you’re from Gardner, not KC. Sorry SSJ, Victor Ortiz hometown is closer to OK and CO than KC, MO. Quit claiming every rising ameteur within 300 miles as a KC product. New England is a region; KC, MO is a city. It may be inbred with the narcissistic, psychotic, delusional people from ks, nebraska and iowa; all aiming for KC as their greatest destination, but these morons congregate in Johnson county, and far away from us that claim KC, MO home because we were born in the city limits and still remain. “I’m from Shawnee, ks but I claim KC, MO to seem relevant”. People that live in Inglewood, La Habra, Orange or Venice don’t say their from Los Angeles. They claim their home town or suburb. But the fairweather, bandwagon transplants that follow ku bball along with nebraskie football around (not in) KC are the worst. Bubba’s a Gardner, ks hometown hero/legend, let’s keep it at that.

    @UltimateDude79

    • E.Jack Hewlett says:

      amazing post, UD. Is there an English language version coming out soon?

      Is it okay for someone from, say, Inglewood CA to claim that they’re from LA? Can only those born inside the city limits of Kansas City, MO, USA claim to be from “Kansas City”? Why did you devote so much of your obviously limited brain power to ranting about this?

  15. Observer says:

    Richard Cranium, the whole KSU/NU thing is funny, but perspective is everything. Yet, it has a Royals parallel. Remember before the Royals-Yankees series last week, many in the city were pointing to an old Royals-Yankees rivalry? Those in NYC gave an off-putting chuckle or coughed with a cow manure expletive.

    This is no different than when Wildcat fan claims there was a Kansas State-Nebraska rivalry. There is no such thing, just as there is no Royals-Yankees rivalry. We can’t take hypocritical positions on these four teams’ relationship with their corresponding partner.

    Yes, there were a few competitive years in both occasions, but a careful observer won’t say a true rivalry exists between two sports clubs that battled for superiority unless they have done so for at least a decade and done so on big stages. Yes the duration is arbitrary on my part, but the point is valid.

    Who was Nebraska’s rival? Unquestionably it was Oklahoma. Who is the Yankees’ rival? No one can credibly say anything other than the Boston Red Sox. All the rest is just fans wanting to validate.

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