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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.

49 Responses

  1. NF says:
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    I’m torn on this one. I absolutely do agree with your range for Butler, but I really have no idea what to expect from Jones this year. If I missed drafting a 1B in the first 3 rounds, he was my 1B of choice in every mock…until I saw his minor league track record. It’s pretty questionable to say the least. I’d like to trust in what he did last year and bask in the very possible 30/15 season (prorating 09), but it wouldn’t really shock me if he hit something like .250/70/20/80/7 for the season…

  2. Martin Van Buren says:
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    I always thought Butler was dubbed Mr. Grapefruit because of his jugs.

    Agree totally that Butler is perenially overrated. You may think you’re being clever by waiting to fill 1B with Billy in the 9th round, but it will ultimately end in power category remorse.

  3. Tony says:
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    @Martin Van Buren: perenially overrated? Last year was Butler’s first full year. I think 25-30HR’s is a good range to expect. Plus a .300 average. I do like Robots ability to steal which we all know Butler has zero speed. Butler has a better track record through the minors. Robot is 29 this year? There’s a reason he’s not made it in the bigs. Check his minor league stats he’s batted everywhere from .175-.300 up, down and all over the place.

    I wouldnt go wild on Butler (although i do like him and have promoted him), anywhere before the 9-10th rounds is probably too early, but I wouldn’t go crazy on Robot either, you’re throwing a penny in a well with him. He might go 30/10, OR he might get sent back to triple A. He’s got 391 big league AB’s, not the best sample size, why does he have only 391 AB’s and he’s 29 going into this year? Because he’s inconsistent.

    I will agree with Grey Butler has been almost hyped to the point where he’s not going to return the value he could have….

  4. Josh says:
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    The last time I trusted a career minor leaguer who busted out for less than one full season, it led to me drafting Mike Aviles, and ended in tears.

  5. Tony says:
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    @Josh: dont trust robot just pick him up REAL LATE, cross your fingers, and be prepared to drop him and search the WW.

  6. Martin Van Buren says:
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    @Tony: He started 2008 in the bigs as well- just got sent down to Omaha for a few weeks. Saying *perenially* overrated was probably overstating things a bit, but my point was that the hype train has been rolling on Butler for quite a while now.

    As for his power, his HR/FB spiked to 11.9% last season after hovering below 9% for the two years prior. Even with that increase, he only jacked 21, so I really don’t see how he’s going to reach 25-30.

    Agree with you on Robot- he is far too risky. I am firmly in the camp that you really need to get a stud 1B this year, and getting a second to slot at corner would be very wise as well.

  7. sean says:
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    @Tony: Butler is closer to Bob Hamelin than George Brett.

  8. Frank Rizzo says:
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    I’ve noticed what you’re saying in Mocks I’ve done Grey. Guys are taking Butler too high and remarking on it as if they really got a steal. Meanwhile Jones can be had for a song. Nobody seems to believe in him. If Butler hits like you say he will in ST, we could start to see him being taken as the 11th 1b off the board, right ahead of Berkman and right behind Morales. That’s round 6/7 in most drafts. No thanks.

  9. Commish Cauda says:
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    ***Keeper League Question***

    20-team, H2H, dynasty salary cap league
    32-man rosters, (11 hitters, 9 pitchers, 8 bench, 4 minors)
    $70 team salary cap, (kept player salaries increase $1 each year)

    I’m actually well below the cap, but my problem is I have too many players. I need to drop some to make room for my draft picks. All draft picks are assigned a $1 salary, (except for two $0 salaries that can be given to prospects).

    Are any of these guys worth keeping?

    $2 Marlon Byrd
    $2 Angel Pagan
    $1 Jordan Schafer

    $4 Fausto Carmona
    $2 Brett Myers
    $2 Luke Hochevar

  10. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    i’m in a keeper league where we just keep 5 guys straight up, no drafting implications or auction implications.

    where would morales rank in regards to these guys: bj upton, hamilton, cruz, and roberts?

    thus far my keepers are braun, teixeira, and rollins. so morales would be filling a util spot if kept. i know many are predicting a drop off, but i like the fact that he improved over the whole season until hitting a bit of a swoon in sept. i’m also looking at making some moves before draft day, but just trying to see people’s feelings on morales.

  11. stanley says:
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    Rob Neyer said in 3 years Billy Butler will be almost good as Votto

  12. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    @ThePoonTycoon: also, i like morales’ relative lack of Ks for a 30-100 guy, and he hit 43 doubles, so maybe he could still pick up a few more HRs? seems after than hamilton at least?

  13. anon says:
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    I’ve participated in several mocks and Mr. Moobs hasn’t fallen to me one time. I did get on the Robot Jones train last season and it was wonderful. I also had Jose Lopez at 1B for about half of the season last year, so I’m shoring up that position way before these two will get drafted this year.

    I do have an unrelated question, this year will be my first year playing roto and I know that Grey says he tries to get 120 saves on draft day. Is there a number of steals I should be aiming for as well? Or am I just making sure I get a couple of speed guys? I think most people who read Razzball will end up ok in the power category and know the drill with starting pitching..

  14. Tony says:
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    @stanley: haha votto can run, butler cant…. how could he compare to votto.

    @anon: Ya is there anyone who has the #’s you should shoot for again? I know its been posted, but i dont wanna search a billion posts…. K’s, saves, HR’s, sb’s, ETC….

  15. airlifting says:
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    @Martin Van Buren: lol @ billy butlers HR/FB “spiking” to 11% after hovering below 9%. garrett jones HR/FB was 21% last year! and his ISO *actually* spiked .70 points higher than it ever was before!

    29 year old that just made it to the major leagues with marginal minor league success or a 24 year old that’s made noticable progress since being called up? i’ll take the latter.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: Nice video.

    @Frank Rizzo: Yeah, he seems to be going very early.

    @Commish Cauda: I’d keep Byrd and Hochevar in a 20 team league.

    @ThePoonTycoon: He rank at the end of that list of guys.

    @anon: You need around 160 to 180.

  17. Jay says:
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    @anon: My general experience, 180 SB will win you SB (or second at worst). 140+ will make you competitive for somewhere between 3-6. around the 155-170 range will put you around 2-4.

  18. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    @airlifting: yeah, but for 2010 do you think butler is worth drafting at least ~6 or so rounds sooner than drafting jones? that’s the question. i think we’d all prefer the potential/upside of butler, but for a fraction of the cost we can take a guy who will probably give us similar numbers, minus some avg and plus some steals. even if jones falls off his rates from 2009, he could still hit ~20 HRs, which is about where we expect butler to be.

  19. Jay says:
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    @Grey: Well that makes me feel better about my fantasy prowess. Thanks Grey.

  20. The Chew says:
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    Thanks for the post Grey. Hopefully readers will see this and think I’ll draft Jones higher than Butler, which means I can grab him later as a CI. Probably not, but maybe…

    to all guys/1 girl reading that’s in my RCL, Jones is a top 100 player!

  21. royce! says:
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    I hope to land Butler in at least one league, if only because I want a team named “Moobin’ On Up!”

    Or “Moobing Out”? Maybe “Moobing Violation”? Eh, I’m bored. I think I’ll just draft Jones again.

  22. John Butte says:
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    The Butte Marauders shall reign victorious in Razzball leagues this year.

    The only moobs I’m truly loving this year are on Fielder.

    Grey, Adam Laroche will be the same player in Arizona that he has been elsewhere, yes? Suck in the first half, quite useful in the second.

  23. Cotton says:
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    All this talk about moobs is making me nauseous. I gotta look at myself in the mirror and Billy’s sad state doesn’t make me feel any better. He gets paid a lot more than me. Happy Friday everyone!

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: I might have to use Moobing Violation for a title post if he starts slow.

    @John Butte: SSDD… Trade for him in June.

    @Cotton: Ha!

  25. airlifting says:
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    @ThePoonTycoon: contrarily, garrett jones could flash the middling power he’s had previously, ISOing closer to his career minor league % of .190 and hit .250 because he’ll strike out 150 times.

    butler may not be 6th round talent; but he’s a career .320 hitter in the minors, reached the majors by the time he was 21 and had 73 XBHs last year…he’s heading towards his prime while jones is leaving his. i just think there’s a pretty high chance for a collpase with jones and a player i’d avoid on draft day.

  26. Tony says:
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    @airlifting: I will say the only good thing about jones is people aren’t going buckwild over him. I’ve seen him still around in the 15th round to the 18th ish. At that point its worth a gamble.

  27. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    @airlifting: i don’t plan on going after jones unless it’s in the last couple rounds and i wanna take a cheap gamble on some power with a little speed. i think you are missing the point of the jones v. butler debate. i’d take jones in the 18th round and draft someone else in the 6th round rather than draft butler in the 6th and draft someone else in the 18th. hell, there are young up-and-coming guys i’m gonna target way late in the draft that could easily out produce butler (blanks, rasmus, snider, etc), have the same (or probably higher) ceiling, and i won’t be spending a 6-8th round pick to get them.

    we’d all prefer butler to jones, but the difference in cost might be too much than the difference in production. think about the reynolds v. davis debate last offseason. sure jones could bomb, but so what if he’s you 15th+ round pick, at best you are batting 50% that low in the draft and you drop him for the flavor of the week. but if your 6th round pick goes for .300-18-80 (easily within reason for butler) and only has 1B eligibility you are going to really be burned.

  28. Stephen says:
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    Karacrap sighting of the day:

    “Hitters to watch in Spring Training”

    Jake Fox
    Aubrey Huff
    Buster Posey
    Juan Uribe
    Mark DeRosa
    Carlos Gomez
    Corey Hart
    Jose Reyes
    Jim Edmonds

    Not to mention a brief mention of Johan Santana.

    Then on a side blurb he mentions the true hitters that anyone who really follows their fantasy leagues should pay attention too:

    Gaby Sanchez
    Jeff Clement
    Brandon Wood
    Jason Heward
    Felix Pie/Nolan Reimold (saying that Reimold could play first if Pie starts to hit)

    uh, enough. I am getting heartburn just looking at his blog.

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, I’m really interested Jim Edmonds. I hear that kid can hit.

  30. Stephen says:
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    @Grey: I’ve heard that all those doubles he’s hit are going to turn into homers? He’s going to be more valuable than Robot Jones this year. Like 35 homers and and 20 steals. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, or he’ll get just under 10% of a Hall of Fame vote in five years. Toss up.

  32. Quinn says:
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    @Grey: Keeper question, McCann or Tommy Hanson? Doesn’t it seem like their might be some sneaky catchers available late. If I lose Hanson this year, I probably lose him forever… *tear*

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Quinn: I’d take McCann in a vacuum.

  34. airlifting says:
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    @ThePoonTycoon: again; billy butler was a major leaguer at 21 years old and is coming off a season in which he had 73 XBH. his comps at both b-r and BP are quite good (jim rice, prince fielder, john olerud, dave winfield, boog powell). he’s a former #1 prospect and that chance that he improves is pretty likely. the chance that jones flames out is also pretty likely, being he cracked the majors at 29 and put up a 21% HR/FB. just don’t see it happening again.

    blanks is good, and yes, will definitely go later than butler…but snider and rasmus? rasmus hit .160/.219/.255 vs LHP … snider .225/.333/.275 vs LHP and you think they could “easily out produce butler.”? that’s crazy talk, man. guys who can’t make contact struggle…you proved that point when you brought up chris davis. they need to prove to me – and hopefully you – that they can hit LHP before i go and assume they’ll outproduce butler.

  35. bobbo says:
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    @Grey: 10-team keeper league that uses OBP instead of AVG. I keep 5 offensive guys. Which side do you like: Mauer/Rollins or Votto/Holliday. I am already keeping HanRam, Wright, and BJ Upton. I’m thinking I can probably get Weiters in the draft portion to backfill Mauer. Thanks!

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @bobbo: Votto side.

  37. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    @Grey: “After all, he has size C moobs and silver dollar nipples.” Let’s hope Butler reads this site and will now scream, “Sacagawea!” after every dinger he hits.

    He could go the “Susan B. Anthony!” route, but come on.

  38. BEASTDOG says:
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    @ Grey….Think I might skip them both and go after deeper sleeper Drew Stubbs. Former #1 pick, hitting leadoff ina decent lineup. Some say the HRs were a fluke but he’s 6’4 with speed. 90-15-75-35. Could hurt you in the BA. Sounds ambitious I know but this guy reminds me of Werth.

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Shmorgie S. Board: Ha!

    @BEASTDOG: Yeah, that is ambitious, and not much like either Jones or Butler. But there could be some value from him in steals.

  40. finite24 says:
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    everyone’s stuck on Butler’s power spike needing to surge forward to warrant the draft position. While I am of the persuasion that 51 doubles will only covert to 2-3 more HRs (figure, say 27 total), I also realize that .300 is not his average ceiling. This guy IS Edgar Martinez, which means I wouldn’t blink twice if he hit .345 one of these years. Now might be too early for that, but why can’t he go .328/27/105. I’m banking on at least .320 OR a power spike, and I’ll live and die by that.

  41. finite24 says:
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    He did hit .314 after the break and his minor league stats support the likelihood that that will be a legitimate trend going forward. He hit .336 in the minors. To me, Garret Jones isn’t a worthy comparison. I don’t see Jones breaking .270. In fact, I see him more likely to end up around .255-.260 (he has a .258 minor league BA and is going to near 160 Ks in a full season). Butler could outhit him by more 60 pts. I’ll trade 7-8 HRs for 40 pts. in BA, let alone 60.

  42. finite24 says:
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    I think .300 as Butler’s most likely BA isn’t realistic. His downside is .290. His entire history says .300 is almost a lock. I don’t want his locked stats as a projection. I want the most likely outcome. I’m not gonna go projecting him for .330 as most likely outcome, but if you said over/under 30 points on the difference between their batting averages, I’d take refinance my mortgage and put it all on the over.

  43. Tony says:
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    @finite24: well .300 would be good and anything over is grand, i wouldnt BET THE HOUSE on it….

    ya never know tho, he has the type of pedigree to do it….

    I’m ready for 2010 to start already. No more debate, show and tell time…

  44. Rhymenoceros says:
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    In the mocks I’ve done, Butler’s ADP shocks me. Maybe I missed something, but last year was not that noteworthy. Sure, he was hyped coming into the bigs, but personally I believe he’s yet to deliver. So, what does it all mean? I think he’s lucky to hit 25 jacks and 100 RBI’s seems generous. According to Mock Draft Central, he’s going around the same time as Adam Jones, The Dread Pirate, and Gordon Beckham. I’d take any of those three over Butler because their ceiling is much higher. Finally, rooting for the Royals is like a visit to the dentist: painful and anxiety-ridden. At least the dentist gives me a new toothbrush and floss. Whatcha got on that, Butler?

  45. finite24 says:
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    Butler’s ceiling is .325/27/110 and I think he’s a LOT more likely to do that than most here are giving him credit for.

  46. finite24 says:
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    (how far off is that upside from Miguel Cabrera in round 1… 10 HRs?). I can see Butler posting 4th round value, and I’d be willing to take him late in round 7/early in round 8 (around pick 80).

  47. airlifting says:
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    i also think butler’s ceiling is a lot more likely to happen than jones’ given their age and history of success. it’s much more likely that butler gets better and jones get worse, rather than both of them repeating their 2009.

  48. Meter Mover says:
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    I’m a contrarian, and have never been a big fan of prospect players overhyped by John Q. Public. Yet, in a wrap-around of contrarianism, I did take a swipe at Tommy Hanson last year to spite my league rival, and came up freaking rose pedals. Thank God my rival didn’t have a man crush on David Price. I got lucky. Still, the JQP sheep who follow usually get eaten by the wolves 2 out of every 3 times. I’ll call out Billy Buttbag early in our auction draft, proclaim his outrageous ceiling aloud and watch the sheep Butt heads for him until he is inevitably over-priced. Meanwhile, I’m looking for this year’s Kendry Morales. He is under the radar somewhere for a song. Otherwise, it will be Cantu at the corner for a lot less hassle. As for Garrett Jones, I don’t expect him to be another *Wilford Brimley, although he is much more likely to end up on a Grape Nuts commercial than a Wheatie’s box. (*For guys under 40, Wilford Brimley = semi-successful late bloomer).

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