Results tagged ‘ Billy Butler ’
Last season, Billy Butler became the youngest player to win the Les Milgram Player of the Year award since a 22-year old George Brett won in 1975. Today, the K.C. first baseman joined Brett as the only player to win the award in consecutive years (Brett did that twice). Butler realizes that his accomplishments do not put him in the same category of player with a George Brett. He is honored just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Hall of Fame third baseman.
Butler started slowly in 2009 – batting just .262 through the first month. This season, he was hot out of the gate – batting .326 in April and .355 in May. Butler attributes that to more at-bats during spring training. He felt more polished going into this year than he did in 2009.
The early success was slowed a bit by a hand injury. Butler learned about himself by playing through the pain. He played in 158 of 162 games and has missed just seven contests over the last two years. His hand is much better than when the season ended on October 3. Butler continues to do rehab from the injury under the advice of trainer Nick Kenney and physical therapist Jeff Blum.
This offseason is the first time that Butler will be eligible for arbitration. If the right deal came along, he would be more than happy to sign an extended contract with the Royals. He believes that the arbitration issue will take care of itself. His main focus is to help the team in any way that he can.
The Royals have announced that first baseman Billy Butler has been named the 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year. The award was voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
Butler, 24, earned his second straight Les Milgram Player of the Year by hitting .318 with 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 78 RBI in 158 games. He ranked in the top 10 in the American League in batting (6th), hits (T3rd, 189), doubles (T4th), multi-hit games (4th, 54) and on-base percentage (7th, .388). Butler joins George Brett (1975-76 and 1979-80) as the only two players in franchise history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. His final average was the highest among qualified Royals players since Mike Sweeney hit .340 in 2002. Born in Orange Park, Fla., the current resident of Idaho Falls, Idaho, leads the entire Major Leagues with 96 doubles over the past two seasons, also setting a new club record for two-base hits in a two-year span.
The Royals announced last week that left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen was named the 2010 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner while right-handed hurler Joakim Soria was honored with the 2010 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year.
Butler will take part in a conference call this afternoon. Check Around the Horn later today for a recap!
Here’s another interactive opportunity for fans to vote for a Royal…for the second-straight year, first baseman Billy Butler is a candidate for the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Athlete.
The award is presented in partnership with All Stars Helping Kids, a national nonprofit founded by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Butler joins a list of other impressive nominees from across the sports world, including C.C. Sabathia, Paul Pierce and Drew Brees. Past recipients of Jefferson Awards for Public Service include Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong and Bill Gates.
The Royals are calling on fans to vote for Butler for this prestigious honor. Fans may text Butler’s Jefferson Award number – 05 – to 99158 or vote online at www.allstarshelpingkids.org/teammates/index.html. Voting ends December 31, but there is no limit to the number of votes per individual.
Butler is one of the club’s community leaders and works extensively with the Bishop Sullivan Center, one of the largest providers of emergency assistance in the Kansas City area. The 24-year-old just completed the third season of his Hit-It-A-Ton campaign, a matching program in which fans and area companies can join the Butlers in donating food to the center for each of his home runs.
Sporting Generosity, an organization designed to identify the contributions to the community made by professional athletes and organizations alike, has named Billy Butler the October 2010 Player of the Month.
Butler joins a list of honorees that includes NFL Hall of Famer Art Monk and NBA All-Star Al Horford.
Butler, Kansas City’s 2010 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, has been involved in community events since his debut with the club in 2007. Billy and his wife Katie lead the “Hit-It-A-Ton” program, which helps feed the hungry in the Kansas City area. The couple donates money for each of Billy’s home runs. Donating fans have the opportunity to earn tickets to a Royals home game and autographed memorabilia, as well as attend a picnic event with the Butlers. For more information on the Hit-It-A-Ton program, visit www.bishopsullivan.org/hit-it-a-ton.aspx.
For more information on Billy’s honor from Sporting Generosity, please visit www.sportinggenerosity.com/butler.html .
We’ll look at several of the topics discussed, starting with…you, the fans!
Yost has the utmost respect for the fans in Kansas City and described them as a classy group. He knows that they are dying for a winner and that they deserve one. He’s never been in a stadium where the fans chant “Let’s go (team name)” as well as at Kauffman Stadium. He knows that the fans want to see a good baseball game and like him, expect a team that plays hard and never gives up. Yost believes that nearly every time that he left the dugout, his players had left it all on the field. He was impressed that the fans acknowledged opposing players for a milestone (example – their first Major League hit).
Are the Rays a realistic comparison?
Is it realistic to compare the Royals to the Rays? (Tampa Bay built their farm system and now they are headed to the postseason for the second time in three years). Yost believes that it is a fair comparison because of the depth of talent in Kansas City’s minor league system. He believes that the Royals are bringing players along at a similar pace to Tampa Bay. Due to the mental and physical demands of the Major Leagues, a majority of the group that was in Double-A this year needs to continue their development at Triple-A in Yost’s opinion.
On the coaching side of things, Yost is looking at ways to improve the information flow to the players through advance reports. He knows that errors will happen on the field, but believes in minimizing the opportunity to make errors.
As reported yesterday, all of the coaches will be back in 2011. Yost does have one position to fill as Rusty Kuntz will be working as a roving coach and special assistant in 2011. Yost knows who that person will be and expects an announcement to be made in the next few days, once the “I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed”.
Yost expects Aviles to be much stronger heading into 2011 as he continues his way back from “Tommy John” surgery. He would like to see Aviles at third base but needs to see more of him there to make a proper evaluation. Yost believes that Aviles is up to the challenge.
Yost said that the shortstop did a great job of staying focused this year and that Betancourt knows what he needs to work on. Betancourt lives in Miami, as does third base coach and fellow native Cuban Eddie Rodriguez. The pair will work regularly this offseason. Yost gave credit to Rodriguez for helping Yuni during the season. Betancourt is a clutch hitter and not an on-base percentage player, so Yost feels comfortable with Betancourt driving in runs from the seventh or eighth place in the order.
Yost believes that Butler will eventually become a 25-30 home run player who consistently drives in 100+ runs. The fact that his walks are up and his strikeouts are down is a sign that he is turning the corner. Yost sees Butler as a #3 hitter more than a cleanup hitter.
Yost believes that Greinke has the ability to be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher on a yearly basis. He said that 2010 was difficult for Greinke due to the notoriety that goes along with the award.
Both Brayan Pena and Lucas May were sent home with “prescriptions” on what they need to do to improve in 2011. Yost believes that Pena, an offensive catcher, did a fair job on game calling toward the end of the year. Bruce Chen’s shutout on Friday was a great example of Pena’s improvement.
Manny Pina, who played in a combined 91 games with Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, will get a good look in Spring Training. Pina is a defensive-oriented catcher and Yost believes that Pina’s offensive game will improve.
Moose on track
Yost will be traveling to Puerto Rico later this week to watch six of Kansas City’s prospects play on Team USA. He will see Mike Moustakas for the first time since early in the year, when he watched Moose at Northwest Arkansas.
Yost made it clear that it is important not to rush Moustakas. In his opinion, he would want to see the third baseman put up his Double-A numbers for a consistent period of time at Triple-A.
Butler, former outfield Les Norman and Royals Hall of Famers Willie Wilson and Frank White were on hand to mentor youth baseball and softball players.
Royalty Fields is a Royals Charities matching grant program that provides financial support to improve baseball and/or softball facilities throughout the Midwest. The program is in the running to receive a Pepsi Refresh Project grant. Visit http://mlb.mlb.com/sponsors/pepsi/refresh/y2010/?team=kc between July 13 and August 17 to vote!
Kicking and screaming
Yost expects tonight’s matchup between premier pitchers Jake Peavy and Zack Greinke to be interesting for everyone. Yost described Peavy as a fearless competitor and admitted he loves watching Peavy on the mound, especially when the pitcher screams and yells at himself.
Give ’em a break
The Royals will again have a different starting lineup in tonight’s game. Yost said the changes were not made because of injuries, but rather were meant to give players rest from the summer heat. He added that tonight will be the first day of rest for outfielder David DeJesus since his son was born on May 25.
Things are looking up
Yost also discussed the play of the infield, saying that it has been good and is only getting better. He credits Eddie Rodriguez with helping develop Mike Aviles’ skills at second base. Additionally, Yost has been impressed with the corners, stating that Billy Butler has done great at first and Alberto Callaspo has been fantastic at third.
Tonight’s pregame included Ned Yost presenting Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar with their awards as Kansas City’s Player and Pitcher of the Month for May. Butler batted .355 and finished tied for fourth in the majors with 39 hits. Hochevar led the club with three wins, including a complete game on May 20 at Cleveland. Congrats to Billy and Luke!