Bubba Starling was one of the most-hyped high schoolers in recent memory before being drafted by the Royals with the No. 5 pick in 2011, but after a strong debut at rookie-ball last season he’s been terrible this season.
Starling has hit .213 with a .640 OPS and ghastly 41/10 K/BB ratio in 35 games at low Single-A and it turns out maybe he just can’t see the ball.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Starling has left the low Single-A team and traveled to Kansas City to potentially undergo Lasik eye surgery. Starling apparently complained of not being able to see very well during night games and his vision has gotten worse since the last time he had it checked.
At this point Lasik is a very minor operation and he’d probably be back playing within days, but making eye checks a regular thing seems like a decent idea for teams given how much money they’ve invested in the development of players like Starling.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.