There are very few things Bubba Starling can't do.
He's a three-sport athlete with serious college potential in all three. He's already accepted a scholarship to play football (quarterback) at the University of Nebraska, where he'll also star for the Cornhuskers baseball squad. And he'd probably walk-on for the hoops team if the coaches would let him.
It's no wonder he's drawn comparisons to fellow three-sport star Carl Crawford, who received scholarship offers from three different schools in three different sports. Like Crawford, it is most likely on the diamond, where ESPN's baseball guru Keith Law calls him an "obnoxiously talented baseball player," that Starling's brightest future lies.
The 6'5", 200-pound Starling could be intriguing to some teams for his on-the-mound potential, where he throws in the low 90s, but he has true five-tool talent as a position player (outfield), which will make him hard to pass up in the first-round.
Coaches, both his and opposing, call him the fastest player they've ever seen. He's been clocked in the 4.36 range in the 40-yard dash and is graded as a plus-plus runner. And that might not even be his best tool. He has out-of-this-world power and can mash with the best of this high school class.
And of course, his arm strength grades out as top notch. His high school football coach once tested his arm by having Starling throw a pass from his knees, expecting him to be able to heave it about 30 or so yards. Sterling blew everyone away and launched the ball an incredible 55 yards.
While his bat speed is ridiculous, his hitting ability still needs some work, and his swing could use some cleaning up, but Starling has all the potential to be a Crawford-like impact player at the plate as well, only with the chance for 10-15 homers more than the former Ray outfielder. Some scouts feel he has Josh Hamilton potential.
That doesn't sound like a guy you let get out of the top 10. In most drafts anyways. This year's draft isn't most years, with greater depth than just about any other in the past 15 years, which means Starling slips slightly out of the top 10 and into the laps of the Houston Astros, who like most teams have begun to place more emphasis on stockpiling as many athletes as they can in the draft. Their farm system is one of the weakest in all of baseball, and adding a top-flight player like Starling would give them a solid pairing to 2010 first-rounder Delino DeShields Jr.
It would also give the Astros, quite possibly, the two fastest players in the minor leagues.
Starling won't come cheap, and if the Astros, who usually stick to the MLB suggested bonus, can't ink him, he'll most likely take up football full-time.