Before all the Bubba Starling hoopla overtook Kansas City fans this summer, another Royals first-round pick was projected to make a significant impact with the big-league club.
And much more quickly than Starling likely will.
Christian Colon, the Royals' top pick in 2010, continues to make steady improvement, at least enough to envision him as the final piece to the Royals' infield of the future.
Colon, 22, was drafted out of Cal State Fullerton as a shortstop.
But the Royals, more than pleased with the development of Alcides Escobar at that position, see Colon as a likely second baseman, even though they haven't mentioned any of this to him.
"Honestly, they haven't said anything to me like that," Colon said in a phone interview. "I've played shortstop most of my life, and I've been playing it in college and the pros.
"I played shortstop last year at high A (Wilmington) and this year at Double-A (Northwest Arkansas).
"I only got a couple of starts at second base this year."
But Colon, a right-handed hitter, presently is playing in the Arizona Fall League and he has made all 11 of his starts at second base.
The transition may have started.
"I'm not reading anything into it," he said. "I can play both positions. I'm happy playing both.
"I will say it's nice to be getting the reps at second base. I actually think it's kind of easier playing second base. The throws are definitely easier.
"I'm also getting used to feeding the shortstop on double plays, and also turning double plays from second base.
"I kind of like turning double plays from there. You don't have to go flying across the bag. It's just a catch and turn and throw."
Colon said he doesn't have a preference regarding shortstop or second base -- but it's obviously he still maintains a shortstop's pride.
"I think I'm a pretty good fielder, and I can play shortstop," he said. "But hey, I'll play wherever they want me to play.
"Obviously, whatever gets me to the big leagues faster."
Colon does pay attention to the Royals' youth movement -- watching as prospects Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez have not only advanced to the big-league club, but established themselves there.
"I've got the 'MLB App' on my phone," Colon said, "so I can keep up with all the highlights at night. It's fun to watch them. Hoz is just an incredible talent. He's amazing.
"And Moose, he's just one of those old-fashioned baseball guys. He's a baseball rat -- lives and breathes it. You knew even when he struggled early on, he would fight his way out of it. He'd find a way."
Colon played last year and part of this year with Perez.
"He's got all the tools," Colon said. "He's big, he can block the plate, throw anyone out. But I was kind of surprised that when he got up there, he just dominated. He raked it.
"That just shows you that baseball development is a process. You have to learn and get better at each step -- and that's what he has done.
"People don't always understand that the whole key is to get better at each step along the way. It takes time. With (Perez), he just got better at each level."
Colon hopes to follow that same path.
He hit .278 at Wilmington last year, with three homers and 30 RBIs. This year at Northwest Arkansas, he hit .257 with eight homers and 61 RBIs.
"I think I'm learning," he said. "It's a big jump to Double-A -- everything is better at Double-A. The pitchers are better, and they really know what they're doing. The defense is better, and it's harder to get hits. But you make adjustments."
Colon said the main thing he's working on this fall is patience when hitting with two strikes.
"It's just a matter of discipline," he said. "I know I can be a hitter that will hit for average. I've always been that way. I think I can have a little pop, too.
"I hit eight homers this year. But I know that's not my game. They've got other guys, like Hoz and Billy Butler, to do that.
"My job is to get on base and also to play great defense. That's hopefully what will get me to the big leagues."
The Royals also are interested in Colon's leadership qualities.
"He's got a good baseball mind, and he's definitely one of those guys you could see as a leader," said Royals assistant general manager of scouting and player development J.J. Picollo.
"You can definitely see him becoming part of the future in Kansas City. He's got some things to work on, but fortunately he's a hard worker. He's progressing and you know that one day it will come all together for him."