Billy Butler burned his fanboys last year, after a strong campaign in 2012. I know everyone around here lovingly (or maybe bitterly) calls him “Moobs”, but that probably hurts his feelings… I bet that’s why he started out so slow this year.
I am tweaking the categories a bit this time, because this methodology is still a work in progress. Here are some quick notes on my patent-pending Jer-o-matic (not geriatric…but similar) system:
- For the injury risk category, a higher score means a player is less likely to miss time
- For the production category, a score of 50% means repeating last year’s production
- Scores about 50% are better than the previous year
- Scores below 50% are worse than the previous year
- A total score of 10 out of 20 is considered repeating last year’s performance
- Scores about this are better than the previous year
- Scores below this are worse than the previous year
Category One: Injury Risk
If there is one thing that everyone can agree on about Country Breakfast, it’s that he is built like a rock. He hasn’t played in fewer than 158 games in his last five seasons. And in his two seasons before that, he only missed time because he was in AAA. He is also a DH, so the wear and tear on his body is already lower than the average player. He had a couple of missed games here and there, but everyone gets that (except Maddy Bum). The Royals don’t have anyone nipping at Butler’s heels to take his DH spot permanently, so the Royals are likely to stick with him through thick and thin.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Category Two: Everything Else
Moobs truly had a Tale of Two Seasons between 2012 and 2013. He had a career year in 2012, followed by a career worst year in 2013. Here’s what he did:
The differences are pretty large here. On the plus side, Billy walked more, which helps greatly in OBP leagues (career 0.363 OBP). His walk rate has slowly trended up throughout his career, so I don’t have much reason to believe Butler will fall below a 10% BB%. But Moobs barely hit half as many homers in 2013 as he did the year before. This is due largely to his HR/FB rate falling back down to his career level of 11.3%. I think he can hit 20 bombs again, although I do have one qualm: his fly ball rate. Here are Billy’s line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates throughout his career:
I have no idea what happened between 2012 and 2013, but Billy stopped hitting fly balls and started hitting grounders. This isn’t a great sign since Moobs would have trouble beating a turtle in a race. Obviously the data from this year has to be taken with a grain of salt because the dataset is smaller, and we all know Billy has been slumping. But I’m still surprised that Butler hit 29 bombs even when his fly ball rate when down.
As for his current average, it is sitting (un)pretty at 0.213, which is 0.084 below his career number. Also, Butler’s BABIP is sitting at 0.255, which is 0.070 below his career norm. His worst BABIP over a season is 0.294, so I expect him to rebound greatly in that department.
Next up for Billy B. are his pitching splits. Here is a chart of his average against various pitches:
You can see that during his 2012 surge, Moobs learned how to hit cutters and sliders. His average against both pitches surged by over 0.100. Then in 2013, he quickly forgot how to hit both of those, as well as the fourseam. This year, his biggest issues are the slider and fourseam. Butler should see some regression towards his career averages with these pitches, especially the dismal slider.
One final note on Billy Butler is that he has a history of being a slow starter. I’ve only used one visual so far, and you guys know how much I like graphs! Here is a breakdown I like to call “Moobs by Month”:
Quick note: Butler’s counting stats are lower in June because he spent some extra time in AAA during his first two seasons. As you can see, most of these stats trend upwards. This is just another reason I believe Butler is a big rebound candidate.
I know that I have mentioned a lot of “what-ifs” throughout this, but I have faith in Country Breakfast. I think Billy is in line for a season between his 2012 and 2013 campaigns. A solid buy-low candidate for sure.
Score: 8 out of 15
Overall Score: 12.5 out of 20
Weighted Score: 125%
Believe in the Moobs.
Jeremy is a contributor for Razzball Baseball. He had a last name, but he lost it in ‘Nam. You can follow the soldier of misfortune on twitter @Jeremy_Razzball, just don’t trigger his flashbacks.