Billy Butler (baseball)

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Billy Butler
Billy Butler on July 27, 2009.jpg
Kansas City Royals – No. 16
Designated hitter
Born: (1986-04-18) April 18, 1986 (age 28)
Orange Park, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 1, 2007 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average .298
Hits 1,124
Home runs 118
Runs batted in 562
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Billy Ray Butler (born William Raymond Butler, Jr.; April 18, 1986) is a Major League Baseball designated hitter and first baseman for the Kansas City Royals. He has also played first base, left field, and right field.

Butler was selected by the Royals in the first round (14th overall) of the 2004 draft out of high school and signed for a $1.45 million bonus, $250,000 below the recommended slot value for that pick. He attended Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was teammates with fellow first-round draft pick Eric Hurley, a pitcher selected by the Texas Rangers. He turned down a scholarship to play for the University of Florida to go pro.[1]

Minor League career[edit]

He played his rookie season at the age of 18 in 2004 with the Royals Pioneer Baseball League affiliate Idaho Falls Chukars, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he batted .373 with 10 home runs and 68 RBIs in 73 games.

In 2006 Butler led the Texas League with a .331 batting average. Despite taking time out to play for Team USA Butler amassed 96 RBIs while playing right field for the Double-A Wichita Wranglers. A third baseman in high school, Butler played right field and left field for Wichita in 2006. He was also selected to play for the United States squad in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game, where he hit the go ahead home run and was selected game MVP.[2][3]

Major League career[edit]

Butler made his major league debut on May 1, 2007, singling in his first at bat, but was sent to the minors after playing 10 games. He was recalled on June 19 after the Royals put slugger Mike Sweeney on the Disabled List.[4] Butler batted .292 in his rookie year with 8 home runs and 52 RBI. In 2008 he batted .275 with 11 HR and 55 RBI. In 2009, Butler batted .301, while surpassing 500 at bats for the first time in his career. He solidified himself as the Royals' number three hitter with his emerging gap power and improved discipline at the plate. Butler lead the Royals with career highs in RBI (92) and doubles (51), nearly eclipsing Hal McRae's team record of 54. He also has a career high in home runs, with 21. He was named Player of the Week twice. He also has played almost all of the 2009 season at first base, whereas before he was almost exclusively the designated hitter - citing the importance of a first baseman known for above-average hitting to also be focused in the other aspects of their play. Only five players had ever hit at least 20 Home Runs and 50 doubles in a season by his age.

The 2010 season saw a slight drop in Butler's power numbers, dropping from 21 home runs and 92 RBI to 15 home runs and 78 runs batted in, respectively. However, he also posted an impressive .318 batting average, the highest of his career to that point. His .388 on-base percentage was also a career best. He also hit 45 doubles. Butler spent the 2010 season playing primarily first base.

On Jan. 23, 2011, Butler agreed to a $30 million, four-year contract with the Royals.[5]

In 2011 season, the promotion of first baseman Kila Ka'aihue from Triple-A Omaha meant that Butler would spend time alternating between first base and designated hitter to open the 2011 campaign. However, with Ka'aihue's demotion in May, the athletic Eric Hosmer was called up from Triple-A Omaha and became the team's everyday first baseman, with Butler becoming the full-time DH. On July 26, 2011, Billy Butler was a triple-short of a cycle in a loss to the Boston Red Sox. Butler followed that performance with four home runs in the next three games. It was during that span that the nickname "Country Breakfast" became popular among Kansas City fans. [6] Butler won the 2011 Hutch Award. [7]

On July 1, 2012 Butler was selected to his first All-Star Game as a reserve on the American League roster. No Royals player was selected by fan or player vote but American League All-Star Team manager Ron Washington made Butler one of his seven selections.[8] At the time of his selection, Butler was hitting .297 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs.

On May 28th 2013 Billy Butler got his 1,000th hit in the first inning scoring Alex Gordon against the St. Louis Cardinals' rookie pitcher Tyler Lyons.

Personal[edit]

He is married to Katie Hansen Butler and has one child, a daughter, Kenley, who was born December 10, 2008. They live most of the year in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has family in Central Florida as well.

Awards[edit]

  • 2003 FFA Award for Whittling his own Bat Which he still uses
  • 2004 Kansas City Royals Minor League Player of the Year
  • 2004 Pioneer League All-Star 3B
  • 2004 Rookie League All-Star 3B
  • 2004 Science Fair Project Winner for creating the Internet
  • 2005 California League Rookie of the Year
  • 2005 High A All-Star DH
  • 2005 Baseball America 1st team Minor League All-Star DH
  • 2005 Kansas City Royals Minor League Player of the Year
  • 2005 California League All-Star DH
  • 2005 California/Carolina League All-Star Game MVP
  • 2006 Futures Game MVP
  • 2009 American League Player of the Week (August 2 - August 8)
  • 2009 American League Player of the Week (September 7 - September 13)
  • 2009 American League Player of the Month (September)
  • 2009 Royals Player of the Year
  • 2011 American League Player of the Week (July 25- July 31)
  • 2011 Hutch Award
  • 2012 American League All-Star
  • 2012 American League Silver Slugger DH
  • 2012 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award [9]
  • 2013 On May 28th 2013 Billy Butler got his 1000th hit in the first inning scoring Alex Gordon against the St. Louis Cardinals and rookie pitcher Tyler Lyons.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Justin Huber
All-Star Futures Game Most Valuable Player
2006
Succeeded by
Chin-Lung Hu
Preceded by
Kendry Morales
American League Player of the Month
September, 2009
Succeeded by
Incumbent