Friday, July 22, 2011

Team Billy

One of the more inexplicable storylines being played out this season is the hostility a section of the fanbase has directed at Billy Butler. Most of this is due to his low RBI total (which is just ridiculous) and for his inability to hit a home run every single at bat. In one of my many twitter rants on the subject I mentioned that Billy's numbers mirror George Brett's at the same page (by the way, if you're on twitter and are part of Team Billy then you need to be following this guy, he's driving the bus). I wasn't the only one who noticed, Michael Engel has a fantastic post on the two at Kings of Kauffman that brings the point home extremely well.

Here's the money quote:
If George Brett were playing today on this Royals team, what would people say?  Would they say the same things – that he can’t hit for power, that he can’t drive in runs like so many others?  He seemed to do alright power-wise as he got older.  The batting average and doubles stayed around, while homers increased here and there.  Brett never tried to hit homers.  His approach was to drive the ball, and if it cleared the fence, all the better.
Entering his age 25 season Brett's career high in home runs was 22 and his career high in RBI's was 90. Both are similar to Butler's 21 and 93. Then look at Brett's numbers at age 25 compared to what Billy is projected to finish with this season, based on his current production.


2B HR RBI BA OPS+
Brett 45 9 62 .294 123
Butler 40 10 65 .287 123

I'm not saying Billy is as good as Brett, I don't think Michael is saying that either, but the similarities in the two categories that Billy continually gets blasted on is striking and should give the haters pause.

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