Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Butler - Royals Hall of Famer?

Since he first debuted as a big leaguer in 2007, Billy Butler has been a very productive player for the Kansas City Royals. Despite how productive Butler has been, it seems a lot of fans tend to underrate him, focusing more on what he can’t do – field or run well – instead of what he can do. And what he can do is hit a baseball. He does that extremely well. In fact, here are Butler’s stats as a major league player.

Year Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2007 KCR 92 360 38 96 23 2 8 52 .292 .347 .447 .794 108
2008 KCR 124 478 44 122 22 0 11 55 .275 .324 .400 .724 93
2009 KCR 159 672 78 183 51 1 21 93 .301 .362 .492 .853 125
2010 KCR 158 678 77 189 45 0 15 78 .318 .388 .469 .857 134
2011 KCR 159 673 74 174 44 0 19 95 .291 .361 .461 .822 125
2012 KCR 161 679 72 192 32 1 29 107 .313 .373 .510 .882 140
6 Yrs 853 3540 383 956 217 4 103 480 .300 .362 .468 .830 123
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2013.

Here are some more numbers to chew on to give you some perspective on where Butler currently stands among Royals’ legends. Going into this season, Butler has a career slash line of .300/.362/.468. His average places him 3rd all-time in Royals’ history, behind George Brett (.305) and Jose Offerman (.306). His OBP is good for 9th all-time, just seven points behind Mike Sweeney and Brett. Butler’s SLG of .468 puts him 8th, one point behind Willie Aikens.

With 956 career hits, Butler sits just 44 shy of 1,000, and in 10th place in Royals’ history, 21 behind David DeJesus. As most of you probably know, Butler has been a doubles machine in recent years, and his career number of 217 reflects that. He’s in 8th place in that category, 6 away from tying Joe Randa. How about home runs? Before his breakout season last year in which he hit 29, many fans were saying Butler only had “doubles power.” With 103 career home runs, Butler is 6 behind Bo Jackson, which would tie him for 10th place in Royals’ history. He’s also 10th in career RBI with 480, 29 behind Willie Wilson. As for runs, Butler is 15th, with 383, just behind fellow current Royal Alex Gordon, and 25 behind Kevin Seitzer. What about triples? Well…Butler has 4 of those, and that’s good enough for me.

Having said all that, let’s take a look at where he may end up after this season. Most projections have him coming just shy of his 2012 numbers, so let’s say he hits 25 HR, 38 2B, 180 H, 100 RBI, and 80 R. After a 2013 season like that, Butler would end up 7th all-time in hits, 7th in home runs, 6th in doubles, 6th in RBI, and 12th in runs in Royals’ history.

The Royals can also control him through the 2015 season, if they exercise his option.

With 2 more seasons of those numbers, Butler could move into 6th in hits, 4th in home runs, 5th in doubles, still 6th in RBI (Sweeney would be just out of reach), and 8th in runs. Obviously, some may see those as optimistic projections since players of Butler’s body type tend to not age well.

But here’s a reminder: Butler is still just 26 years old.

We’re only talking about 2 more seasons after this one, and Butler’s been able to stay healthy to this point, so I think he should still be a very good hitter come 2015. And who knows? If he is still productive at the end of this contract, and the team can lock him up for a few more years, Butler would have a shot at climbing those all-time ranks even more. He might not be able to catch Number 5, but making it to 2nd place wouldn’t be out of the question in most of those categories. Take a look at some of the names Butler is going to be passing in the next few years, along with some names he’s already passed. These are names every Royals fan should recognize.

In hits:

Rk H ▾
1 George Brett HOF 3154
2 Frank White 2006
3 Amos Otis 1977
4 Willie Wilson 1968
5 Hal McRae 1924
6 Mike Sweeney 1398
7 Joe Randa 1084
8 Freddie Patek 1036
9 David DeJesus 971
10 Billy Butler 956
11 Carlos Beltran 899
12 Johnny Damon 894
13 Cookie Rojas 824
14 John Mayberry 816
15 Kevin Seitzer 809
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2013.

In HR:

Rk HR ▾
1 George Brett HOF 317
2 Mike Sweeney 197
3 Amos Otis 193
4 Hal McRae 169
5 Frank White 160
6 John Mayberry 143
7 Danny Tartabull 124
8 Carlos Beltran 123
9 Steve Balboni 119
10 Bo Jackson 109
11 Billy Butler 103
12 Mike Macfarlane 103
13 Joe Randa 86
14 Jermaine Dye 85
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2013.

In 2B:

Rk 2B ▾
1 George Brett HOF 665
2 Hal McRae 449
3 Frank White 407
4 Amos Otis 365
5 Mike Sweeney 297
6 Willie Wilson 241
7 Joe Randa 223
8 Billy Butler 217
9 David DeJesus 187
10 Alex Gordon 183
11 Freddie Patek 182
12 Mike Macfarlane 174
13 Carlos Beltran 156
14 Johnny Damon 156
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2013.

 

And again, Butler is only 26, still in the prime of his career.

Regardless of whether or not Butler stays beyond his current contract, I think it’s time for people to realize how special of a player he really is. He is arguably one of the best 15 hitters in all of baseball right now. His power from the right side of the plate is incredibly valuable in this lineup. He is the most reliably productive player on this team. And he is well on his way to becoming a Royals Hall of Famer.

 

Tags: Billy Butler Kansas City Royals

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