South Atlantic League baseball
What: Four-game series
When: Thursday through Sunday (6:05 Thursday night, 7:05 Friday and Saturday nights, 2:05 Sunday afternoon)
Where: Appalachian Power Park (Charleston, W.Va.)
Major League affiliates: Kansas City Royals (Legends), Pittsburgh Pirates (Power)
Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Thursday, RH Leonel Santiago (0-0, 2.25) vs. RH Jason Creasy (2-0, 3.21); Friday, RH Miguel Almonte (3-6, 3.39) vs. RH Clay Holmes (2-5, 4.98); Saturday, LH Daniel Stumpf (6-6, 3.30) vs. RH John Kuchno (3-4, 5.10); Sunday RH Christian Binford (5-3, 2.08) vs. RH Tyler Glasnow (4-2, 2.69).
Legend to watch: CF Bubba Starling (6-foot-4, 210 pounds, age 20, bats and throws right, from Gardner, Kan.) has come to life after struggling much of the first half of the season. At the all-star break, Starling was batting .213, with seven homers, 29 RBI, 30 runs and eight stolen bases. Since then, he is batting .310 with nine RBI, three runs and a steal (through Tuesday). He is 7-for-18 (.389) over his last six games. Overall, Starling is batting .229 with seven homers, 38 RBI, 33 runs and nine steals in 11 attempts. Having difficulty seeing the ball during night games, he underwent lasik eye surgery in mid-May. Coming into the season, Baseball America rated him the No. 2 prospect in the Royals organization. A 2011 first-round draft pick, fifth overall, he signed for $7.5 million, turning down an offer to play quarterback at Nebraska. He also was an all-state basketball player for Gardner-Edgerton High School. His final two seasons of high school, he hit 17 homers, batting .481 as a senior. He also played for Team USA’s under-18 squad in 2010, batting .339 with a .474 on-base percentage. With the Burlington Royals last year, he hit .275 with 10 homers, 33 RBI, 35 runs and 10 steals over 53 games. He was Burlington’s Player of the Year, as well as an Appalachian League all-star.
Power to watch: All-star 2B/SS Dilson Herrera (5-10, 150, 19, right-right, from Cartagena, Colombia) is batting .270 through Tuesday, with seven homers, 37 RBI, 46 runs and nine stolen bases. Although batting .336 on the road, Herrera is only .197 at home. Rated by Baseball America as the No. 20 prospect in Pirates system coming into this season, he signed in 2010 for $220,000. With the Venezuelan Summer League Pirates in 2011, he hit .308 with two homers, 27 RBI, 42 runs and 16 steals over 65 games. Herrera made his U.S. debut last year with the Gulf Coast League Pirates (53 games) and State College Spikes (7 games) of the New York-Penn League. He led the GCL in runs (41), extra-base hits (22) and total bases (96). He finished with averages of .281 in the GCL and .321 with State College.
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