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Royals promote Bubba Starling to AAA Omaha

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The promotion is a curious one.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have promoted outfielder Bubba Starling to AAA Omaha, despite a lackluster performance in AA Northwest Arkansas. Starling, a native of Gardner, Kansas and a 2011 first-round pick by the Royals, was hitting just .185/.251/.322 with the Naturals with 5 HR 23 RBI in 61 games. The tour is his second with Northwest Arkansas, as the outfielder hit .254/.318/.426 with 10 HR in 91 games with them last year after being promoted from Wilmington.

Starling has been largely a disappointment since the Royals took him with the fourth overall pick in 2011. In five minor league seasons he has hit just .237/.318/.392 and has struck out 27.5% of the time. Starling has not been on a hot streak at all, hitting .156 since the start of June with just four extra base hits. His defense is said to be Major League ready, although he did drop a fly ball last week to cost his team a run.

Starling did battle a heel injury in late May that may have contributed to some of his struggles, but it is safe to say his performance has been a huge disappointment. Perhaps the Royals feel like a change of scenery will help, or that being so close to the Major League will motivate him to turn things around. The team was hoping he could make his Major League debut this year and compete for a Major League starting job in 2017, but that appears to be in doubt at this point.

Omaha currently has Reymond Fuentes, Jorge Bonifacio and Travis Snider in the outfield, and could receive Brett Eibner in two weeks when Lorenzo Cain returns from the disabled list.