Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gregory Smith - 2011 Fantasy Baseball Spotlight - Billy Butler

Today the fantasy baseball spotlight is shining brightly on Kansas City Royals 1B Billy Butler. Will his power develop and can he become a top 10 first baseman this season.

Butler was selected by the Royals in the first round (14th overall) of the 2004 first-year player draft out of high school. Butler is entering his fourth season as an everyday player, at the age of 24 and he turns 25 at the beginning of the 2011 season. Butler currently ranks below the top 10 first basemen, due in large part to his lack of HR's and RBI's.

In 2010 many of us drafted Butler and expected him to take a leap forward, however he regressed a bit. In 2009 Butler batted .301/21/78/93. In 2010 Butler batted .318/15/77/78.

Butler possesses a solid batting eye, gap-to-gap power and showed excellent HR production in the minors. In 2010 his walks increased and his strikeouts decreased, which bodes well for Butler to maintain his batting average. Butler smacked 45 doubles last season, which tied him for fifth in the league. Turning some of those doubles into HR's, will significantly increase Butler's value going forward. Baseball statistician Bill James predicts 540 at-bats, 78 runs, 18 HR's, 89 RBI's, .307 batting average.

My Advice: If Butler falls to you in the 9th or 10th round of your draft then pounce! Keep in mind that first base is a very deep position, so plenty of options exist.

Butler's current ADP on Mock Draft Central is 82, behind Adam Dunn (49) Kendry Morales (59) and Paul Konerko (69).

Gregory's Projection: 600 at-bats, 80 runs, 23 HR's, 90 RBI's, .320 batting average

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