Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
First Base/Designated Hitter – Billy Butler
Billy Butler’s tenure with the Kansas City Royals was one of extremes. At first, Butler seemed quite overrated, as it was expected that the stocky first baseman/designated hitter would develop into a solid power hitter. Those expectations reached a fever pitch after the 2012 season, when Butler hit 29 home runs. Then, when he failed to produce at that level, fans seemed to sour on Butler, as he became the poster child for the Royals offensive struggles.
Yet, both the high expectations and the following vitriol towards Butler ignore the type of player he was for the Royals. Essentially, he was a hefty Mark Grace, someone who had excellent doubles power and an ability to make contact. No, he never quite hit for the power that was expected of him, but Butler produced a solid .295/.359/.449 batting line in Kansas City, hitting 276 doubles in his eight seasons.
Defensively, Butler was not the greatest first baseman, but he continued to work on his craft even after the arrival of Eric Hosmer. That preparation served him well when Hosmer was injured during the 2014 season, and Butler took over. While he may not have been the same defensive player as Hosmer, he was roughly league average in his 37 games at first, a stark improvement over the player he had been.
Chances are, Billy Butler would see a good deal of time as the Kansas City Royals designated hitter in this lineup. However, if he was needed to play first base due to injury, Butler would certainly hold his own.
Next: Give the man his Gold Glove!