I didn’t even get a chance to write the Billy Butler fantasy sleeper post before I had to bring out the “This Guy vs That Guy” post. Geez, people are really overhyping early this year, huh? (More of a question to myself, you don’t have to answer.) What did Butler do last year that has him screaming up the rankings on so many draft sheets? Let’s see, he hit 21 homers, .301 average, 78 runs, 93 RBIs and 1 steal. In 608 at-bats. That doesn’t sound all that wonderful. There has to be another reason. Oh, it’s because he hit 51 doubles. People are assuming at least 10 of those 51 doubles have to turn to homers. After all, he has size C moobs and silver dollar nipples. Oh, wait. It’s because he hit 6 homers in September and 13 homers in the 2nd half. See, he was already showing that burgeoning power. Yeah, those are reasonable, uh, reasons. But he’s being asked to do too much.
Billy Butler is a line drive machine. When he’s not hitting line drives, he’s hitting ground balls. He’s much closer to Robinson Cano or, to get historical on ya, Edgar Martinez. Edgar Martinez only hit above 30 homers once in his career, Cano has yet to reach it. Maybe it’s the portly body that has people seeing Butler as a surefire power breakout, but I don’t agree. If you don’t believe me because of trust issues, CHONE and Bill James both project Butler to hit 17 homers. Then there’s the Royals. How many Runs do you think Butler’s getting in that lineup? 80? 85? Yeah, maybe. Then there’s the RBIs. See lack of Runs. Looking at maybe 100. So 85/25/100/.300. That’s not terrible, but those numbers are leaning down rather up. What I mean is, he’s between 75-85/20-25/85-100/.300. So if he ends up at 75/22/85/.300, that’s a corner man, not a 1st baseman. If he had steals to make up for his shortcomings, it would be different. But Billy Butler couldn’t steal a base if they were only 15 feet apart and he grew 13 more feet. You know who does have some speed?
Robot Jones. On Bill James’s Speed Score, Jones had a 4.4 last year. Butler was at 2.0. (You ever think if Butler had any speed he might have had 7 or so triples instead of some of those doubles?) Last year in 358 plate appearances, Jones stole 10 bases. In 672 PAs, Butler stole 1 and I’m assuming it was a hit and run and no one covered 2nd. Jones’s fly ball rate was 41.3% last year; Butler was 34.6%. Jones can hit 30 homers a lot easier than Butler. I’m calling Butler and Jones a push on Runs and RBIs. So that leaves average. As we all know, average is fickle, but Butler will easily beat Jones. At least .300 to .270. However, Butler is being drafted around 70 spots before Jones. Yes, Garrett Jones is much riskier. If Butler were at 120 and Jones 140, I’d take Butler every time. There’s a chance with Jones that he flames out and looks like Ludwick circa 2009. But the difference of 70 spots in ADP has me in Jones’s corner. He’s much better value. Oh, and Billy Butler hits about .450 every Spring Training, which led him to be dubbed Mr. Grapefruit, so his ADP isn’t going down any time soon.