Monday, August 1, 2011

Billy being Billy

The fans that have been unimpressed with Billy Butler's lofty on-base percentage all year were finally silent last week when Billy hit 5 home runs in 4 games. I don't know if he made an adjustment or if he just dug his cool new nickname, or maybe he took George Brett's advice. Brett told Bob Fescoe that Billy needs to lose 15 or 20 points on his batting average and become a 25+ HR, .280 hitter. Because it's that simple. As I've mentioned before Brett only hit 9 home runs when he was 25, and he only hit 25+ home runs twice in his career, so I found his do as I say not as I did comment a little off-putting.

The most likely reason for Billy's hot streak is that we're now in the season's second half, and this is when he kicks his numbers into overdrive. In his last 10 games he has put up a .356/.375/.800 line with 6 home runs and 14 RBI's. Now that he's driving in runs everybody is happy, because as you know, RBI's are the most important offensive statistic. Or so I've been told a thousand times this year. I mentioned in this piece for the St. Joseph News Press that it wouldn't surprise me if Butler ended up with similar HR and RBI numbers from 2009. As you may recall, he set career highs in the two departments when he hit 21 home runs and drove in 93.

So let's see how he matches up with his breakout season.

All Star Break:
2009 - 8 HR 38 RBI
2011 - 6 HR 38 RBI

August 1st:
2009 - 11 HR 47 RBI
2011 - 12 HR 53 RBI

So he's actually now ahead of 2009's pace, thanks to the power surge from last week. There are a couple of reasons why I haven't gotten worked up about his power numbers, 1) He has led the team in OBP most of the year, and 2) I knew more home runs were coming because career-wise he hits for more power after the All Star break. Not to mention that since 2009 he's sixth in the American League in extra base hits. He's not the singles hitter some people make him out to be. Anyway here's his splits by half.

1st Half 1430 1280 91 28 155 .291 .359 .428 .787
2nd Half 1199 1082 76 39 176 .306 .366 .490 .856
He hits a home run every 27.7 at bats after the break compared to 45.7 before. Why, I have no idea, he just does.

Now I don't know if he'll ever be a perennial 20+ HR guy but there is plenty value in a 15 HR, 40 2B, .360 OBP season, even if its a DH doing it. Hal McRae rode numbers like that into the Royals Hall of Fame and I have no doubt that Billy can do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Billy needs to lose 15-20 pounds, not 15-20 points.