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Thursday January 3rd, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
For the past few seasons, the Kansas City Royals have not had a lot of consistency. The pitching has been sub-par, and the hitting has been disappointing. But, there has been one guy the Royals have been able to rely on: Billy Butler. Butler, a First Round pick in the MLB Amateur Draft (14th Overall), is not the type of player that is a household name, but he gets the job done—very well for that matter. Not much attention has been paid to Butler, probably because of the lack of success that the Royals have had. From 2009 to 2012, Butler has played in no less than 158 Games—something that is very valuable to a team. His worst season (power-wise) in that 4 Year span was 2010, in which he hit .318 with 15 HRs and 78 RBI. In 2012, Butler was outstanding, hitting .313 with 29 HRs and 107 RBI. This season included his first All Star Game Appearance and a Silver Slugger Award.
In terms of defense, Butler has been squeezed out. The rise of star prospect Eric Hosmer eliminated any possibility of Butler playing First base. Butler did not play much defense before Hosmer came up anyway, but the call-up solidified this. Now, Butler is the everyday DH, similar to a David Ortiz-type. He occasionally gets some time in the field, notably in 2012 when Hosmer was mired in a deep slump. If Butler was more versatile, maybe he would be more recognized and could receive the attention he deserves. When Ortiz retires soon, Butler may take the reigns as the best DH in the game.
Billy Butler 2012 Highlights