Every June, optimism spreads among MLB teams as the draft approaches.

It’s the time of the year when teams and fans can take a closer glimpse of their future through the draft.

This is no different for the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals have placed more emphasis in the draft process in recent years under current GM Dayton Moore, as he has beefed up his staff with more scouts in all areas, and it is already starting to pay dividends for the franchise.

Earlier this year, Baseball America dubbed the Royals’ farm system as the best unit in all of baseball.

Much of the recent praise of the Royals’ minor league system stems from a series of solid drafts, netting players such as current Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer, Royals’ starting pitcher Danny Duffy and emerging-star 3B Mike Moustakas.

In this year’s draft, the Royals will have the fifth overall pick, one that could potentially give the team another important piece to their future.

This is where local product Bubba Starling enters the discussion.

Starling, the former Gardner-Edgerton star, is considered by many as a rare five-tool prospect and could still be on the board when the Royals make their pick in the first round on Monday night.

He stands at 6’5″, 200 pounds and has the ability to either pitch or play outfield at the major-league level.

He is starting to draw comparisons to former AL MVP Josh Hamilton, and it’s easy to see why.

Starling has speed, power and the arm strength to blow away any scout who watches him play the game.

However, there could be a risk if the Royals were to draft Bubba with their first pick: Starling already has plans to enroll at Nebraska.

Although this might be the case, many think a large signing bonus and the chance to play in the majors in a couple years will persuade the talented slugger to go the pro baseball route.

The Royals simply can’t let another talented prospect from their own backyard get away from them.

Remember the former Fort Osage and Maple Woods CC star the Royals didn’t even seem to know about in the 2001 MLB Draft?

You might know him today as Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in the game.

Kansas City can’t afford for Starling to become the next Pujols—the home-grown star who got away.

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