KANSAS CITY -- Now that the 2012 First-Year Player Draft is over, the Royals' top choice in 2011 is finally ready to join a team.
Outfielder Bubba Starling is expected to begin play on June 19 with the Rookie classification team at Burlington, N.C., a member of the Appalachian League. Starling signed too late last summer to be assigned to a regular-season team.
"We're happy with [Starling's progress]," said J.J. Picollo, assistant general manager-scouting and player development. "This whole process from Spring Training to now is just to build a foundation for Bubba. Being on the field every day, being in warm weather every day, taking batting practice on the field every day, being around [hitting coach] Andre David and a lot of the people that we hold in high regard has helped his progress as a player.
"We think what we're going to see with Bubba is things are going to start speeding up as far as his development in the coming year to 18 months. It's building a foundation for him. He's done a great job with it."