Getting Billy Butler Back on Track


When Eric Hosmer was originally placed on the disabled list with his wrist injury, the Royals were looking for someone to take over his production in the lineup. Hosmer had been the hottest hitter in the Royals lineup, and heading down the stretch, someone needed to step up and take his place. Through the first half of August, Billy Butler was that player, as playing first base appeared to reinvigorate his bat.

However, since August 20, Butler has struggled, posting a .174/.269/.326 batting line with two home runs in his last 13 games. Never one to strikeout at a frequent rate, Butler has eleven times in his past 46 at bats. Perhaps the rigors of playing first base every day have worn Butler out, leading to his recent struggles at the plate.

With the rosters expanding, and options such as Josh Willingham, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Peguero available to fill Billy Butler’s spot at designated hitter, it may be difficult to find a role for him going forward. Butler is easily a better option than Ibanez and Peguero when he is productive, which has, unfortunately, not been frequent enough this season.

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With the Royals still struggling to consistently score runs, getting Butler back on track would seemingly be a large part of improving the offense. During the first part of August, a stretch when the Royals went 15-3, Butler posted a .352/.387/.521 batting line, striking out only eight times in 71 at bats. As the Royals surged back into first place, Butler helped lead the charge.

While the Royals do not need Billy Butler to be that player over the first half of August, they need him to be a reasonable facsimile of the hitter he has been over much of his career. Butler has shown flashes of being that player this season, but has been inconsistent this year.

Perhaps spending some time out of the lineup, with the other options the Royals have at designated hitter, will help get Butler back to the player he was not even three weeks ago. Maybe just taking a couple of days off to clear his head will work wonders. Maybe letting Butler get the occasional game at first, even with Hosmer in the lineup, will give Butler that confidence boost that he needs.

At this point, the Royals need to get Billy Butler back to form. Almost any option may be on the table.