Athletics DH/1B Billy Butler is one of my favorite late round sleepers for the 2015 season. Butler had enough of a power outage last season that the Royals decided to buy him out. Country Breakfast’s numbers fell off a cliff. On-base percentage has always been a selling point on Butler but that dropped from .374 to .323. Runs above replacement player were 21 in 2013 and bottomed out at -3 in 2014. Injuries don’t tell the story as Butler played in 151 games last season. At age 28 has Butler’s skill set fallen off a cliff?
I’m not buying that Butler is washed up. The 2012 season of 29 ding-dongs and 107 RBI serves as a career year for Butler. Career splits are a better way to evaluate Butler for fantasy owners. In the AL West, Butler is going to play in 3 spacious pitchers parks. Potential ding-dongs die in the outfield, but Doubles will certainly fall in to play. 3 out of the 4 venues in the AL West Butler has done some serious damage in his career. In Oakland, Butler sports a .354 career OBP in 130 career plate appearances. Angel Stadium is a home away from home for Butler with a .402 OBP in 127 plate appearances. At Rangers Ball Park in 129 plate appearances, Butler sports a .380 OBP. While Safeco Field has been a problem for Butler, with just a.319 OBP in 113 career plate appearances.
A’s GM Billy Beane has always favored players with a high on-base percentage. Beane is one of the most well respected talent evaluators in the game today. Beane giving Butler a 3-year deal makes me believe Butler isn’t finished up just yet. If Beane is sold on him I am as well. I plan to draft Butler as much as possible this season. In a 10-team league Butler was my 16th rd draft choice and will play 1B until Ryan Zimmerman picks up 1B eligibility. Butler should be able to do some damage hitting in the heart of the order for the A’s. There’s a certain period in each draft where its time to buy lottery tickets on bounce back veterans or stash young players. In my opinion Butler is worthy of one of those lottery tickets.