Billy Butler, 2011 MLB Breakout Candidate

By on March 2, 2011



I want everyone to take a deep breath; what I am about to say is nothing short of shocking, mind-bending, and literally unbelievable:

Royals first baseman Billy Butler stole a base Sunday in the Royals spring opener against the Texas Rangers.

I know, incredibly strange news considering Billy Butler only has one career stolen base in 533 games in the majors, but manager Ned Yost told MLB.com that he wants to see his players running more this season.

“Billy got one in the intrasquad game the other day, too,” Yost said. “You can pick your spots in those situations, and we’re looking to do that whenever we can.” Yost believes that Butler could reach double-digit steals this season.

“I have one in my career, and Ned’s going to be a little more aggressive than managers we’ve had in the past,” Butler said.

Butler went 1 for 2 with two RBI and a walk in his debut only to follow that up with an identical line on Monday with an added run scored.

Billy Butler is an interesting player with a lot of tools that are just beginning to maturate. He can obviously hit for power, get on base, drive in runs and in 2011 Billy Butler is primed for an explosion.

Let’s take a look.

Billy Butler, 1B,DH, Kansas City Royals:

Assets:

  • Strong power bat who can drive in runs.
  • Consistent hitter with a well trained eye; won’t hurt you anymore on SO.
  • Should afford fantasy baseball owners about 10 to 15 bags this year for some unexpected value.

Flaws:

  • Defensively, not that good.
  • Needs to prove that last year’s drop off was a fluke, and not a sign of things to come.

ADP: 84.26 / 1B Rank: 13 / OVRL Rank: 82 / Round: Four or five

2010 Stat Line:

AB R H DBL TRPL HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
595 77 189 45 0 15 78 69 78 0 0 .318 .388 .469

2011 Projected Stat Line:

AB R H DBL TRPL HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
585 83 191 42 0 21 90 72 88 10 4 .327 .393 .510

2011 Fantasy Outlook: Many owners were scorned by Billy Butler last year in what they felt was going to be his breakout year. But the fact of the matter is, the Royals had him working on some specifics.While Butler did declined in RBI (93 to 78) and homeruns (21 to 15) last year, he improved his average, on-base percentage, and significantly decreased his strikeout count (103 to 78).

Combine that strikeout count with the fact that the kid hit a career high .318 last year—not to mention being a lifetime.299 hitter—and suddenly this 25 year old near elite power-bat is already doing things, middle-of-the-order guys only dream off.

If you decline on Butler in the first round of your draft, considering him a high end early second rounder with huge upside, especially with news that Yost wants his boys running the paths this year.

Something that Butler appears to be good at.

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