Derek "Bubba" Starling…resides in Paola, Kan., during the offseason ... Graduated from Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School in 2011…hit a combined 17 home runs over his final two prep seasons, batting .481 as a senior…selected First Team Rawlings Preseason All-America in 2011 ... Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 high school prospect and the best high school athlete in the 2011 draft...played for Team USA's Under-18 squad in 2010, batting .339 with a .474 on-base percentage…also competed at the 2010 Tournament of Stars and the Under Armour All-America Game ... A three-sport star in high school, he rushed for 2,471 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior quarterback and was also an all-state honoree in basketball ... Bypassed an opportunity to play football and baseball at the University of Nebraska when he signed with the Royals.
Limited to just 20 games, including 11 with Omaha (AAA) due to various injuries ... Opened the year on the Major League disabled list due to a left oblique strain, but was reinstated and optioned to Triple-A on April 27 ... Hit .257/.350/.314 (9-for-35) with the Storm Chasers, before going back on the disabled list with a right oblique strain ... Played in nine games over two separate rehab assignments with Surprise (Rookie), July 4-8 and Idaho Falls (Rookie), Aug. 29-Sept. 3 ... Non-tendered by the Royals on Nov. 30…re-signed as a minor league free agent on Dec. 17, with an invite to Major League spring training.
Spent his entire year with Omaha (AAA), playing in 80 games despite two extended stints on the disabled list… appeared in just seven games after his initial DL stint (July 13-Aug. 11) ... Had his contract selected on Aug. 26, being placed on the 60-day disabled list…marked his first time on the Royals' 40-man roster ... Batted .248 (69-for-278) with 14 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 35 runs scored ... After hitting .121 (8-for-66) with two extra-base hits in his first 20 games, batted .288 (61-for-212) with 20 extra-base hits (.443 SLG) from May 2 to the end of the season ... Hit .325/.426/.550 (13-for-40) when leading off an inning, which included three of his seven home runs ... Collected 11 outfield assists in 78 games, the third time he's recorded 10 or more in the last four seasons (also, 13 in 2016 and 14 in 2014).
Split the season between Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA), hit .183 (73-for-399) with 23 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 40 RBI in 109 games combined...Promoted to Omaha on July 2, going 10-for-34 (.294) with a homer and five runs scored in his first 10 games...Recorded his first multi-homer game since 2012 on April 10 vs. Midland, blasting a pair of two-run shots...Tabbed the No. 3 prospect in the Royals' organization by Baseball America prior to the season.
Bubba spent a majority of the year at Northwest Arkansas (AA), after opening the year at Wilmington (A-Advanced)...Hit a combined .269 with 23 doubles, four triples and 12 homers between his two stops...tied for 11th in the Texas League with his four triples, while his .744 OPS would have ranked in the top 20 if he had enough at-bats to qualify... Batted .333 (33-for-99) with seven doubles, two triples and three homers in July...had a season-best 12-game hitting streak from June 26 to July 11, where he hit .340 (16-for-47)...Hit for the cycle on July 28 at Arkansas, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored in a 10-4 Naturals victory...Participated in all six of Northwest Arkansas' postseason games, batting .211 with a homer and four runs scored...Played in 22 games for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, batting .274 with two doubles, four homers and 10 RBI.
In 2014, tied for the Carolina League (A) lead in games played (132) and was seventh in runs scored (67) and 10th in walks (49) ... Named Carolina League Player of the Week for the Week of June 23 in 2014…hit .478 (11-for-23) over a five-game span.
Slugged a career-high 13 home runs at Lexington (A) in 2013 and was named the No. 19 prospect in the South Atlantic League.
In 2012, named Burlington (Rookie) Player of the Year and was also an Appalachian League All-Star.