Billy Butler
Billy Butler
33-Year-Old First Baseman1B
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Billy Butler in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the A's in November of 2014.
Makes immediate impact in Yankees debut
1BNew York Yankees  
September 16, 2016
Butler went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored in his Yankee debut Thursday versus Boston.
ANALYSIS
Added to the Yankees' roster earlier Thursday, Butler arrived at the park about 90 minutes before game time and made an immediate impact with a first-inning sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single in the third before coming around himself. Butler was released on Sunday by the Athletics, and the Yankees plan to use him as their designated hitter against left-handed pitching for the remainder of the regular season.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Billy Butler
The Z Files: Notes To Self For 2017
September 23, 2016
Todd Zola leaves some notes to himself for his 2017 drafts, including a reminder to focus more on hitting early given his knack for consistently finding valuable arms like Brandon Finnegan in the late rounds.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
September 18, 2016
Erik Siegrist notes a lot of arms who could be available to help your staff's stretch run, including a revitalized Taijuan Walker.
DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks
September 16, 2016
September 16, 2016
Twins youngster Jose Berrios has really struggled this season, and RotoWire's Sasha Yodashkin will look to take advantage through the Mets' Curtis Granderson on Friday.
Regan's Rumblings: September Call-ups and 2017 Closers
September 1, 2016
Dave Regan uses his rumblings this week to speculate on September call-ups and who might nail down a closer's spot in 2017.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
August 28, 2016
Erik Siegrist looks at the AL free agent pool prior to September call-ups and finds a trio of veteran outfielders making a late push to save their seasons, including the Tigers' Justin Upton.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
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2012
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2010
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2006
2005
2004
Butler was already on a short leash with the A's after a disappointing first year in Oakland, and though his average climbed back up 25 points in 2016, his power all but disappeared with just four home runs in 85 games with the A's. In addition to his struggles on the field, he was involved in a clubhouse altercation in August with a teammate that landed him on the 7-day concussion disabled list. He was released less than a month later. The 30-year-old signed with the Yankees and served a platoon role for the final few weeks of the season, and he seemed to benefit from the change of scenery with a .345 average and .892 OPS in the 12-game stint. Butler could see some playing time against left-handed pitching at first base or DH for an AL club in 2017.
After signing a three-year, $30 million contract in free agency with the A's last offseason, Butler responded with a poor campaign, hitting only .251 — 40 points below his career average — and his .713 OPS did not justify his contract or the DH slot he filled most days. Butler salvaged his final line a bit with a strong September, hitting .300 with six of his homers over his final 110 at-bats. Perhaps Butler figured something out with his swing late in the year, but there is no way to forget that he hit a mere .238 with nine homers over the first five months of the season. Butler's hard-hit rate dropped to 30.2%, down from 36.9% in 2014 while his soft hit rate rose (to 15.2% from 12.8%). His contract may afford him more leeway than he deserves, but with the acquisitions of Khris Davis and Chris Coghlan this offseason, it's entirely possible that Butler is relegated to a part-time role. If he is not playing every day he would be worth next to nothing in mixed leagues considering he only qualifies at the UTIL spot.
Butler turned in a largely disappointing fantasy campaign in 2014, posting career-lows in both home runs (nine) and isolated power (.107). The poor performance forced manager Ned Yost to move him down in the batting order, and even cost Butler some playing time to Josh Willingham towards the end of the season. For those reasons, the Royals declined to pick up his $12.5 million team option for 2015, but all hope may not be lost for the former slugger. A .310 BABIP and 6.9% HR/FB rate both were his lowest since 2008, suggesting a bounce-back season may not be out of the question. Butler will now get a fresh start with the Oakland Athletics -- one of the few ballparks he could have chosen that actually may be tougher to hit for power in than the spacious Kauffman Stadium. He'll serve almost exclusively as the designated hitter in Oakland, but he could prove to be a steady three-category contributor (average, RBI and homers) if the A's are right about his chances of a rebound.
With expectations riding high after a breakout season in 2012, Butler disappointed his owners last year with a failed encore performance. He maintained his typically strong plate discipline, and even posted higher contact rates, but with an increase in groundballs that came at the expense of his flyball rate, his power suffered, and he hit just 15 home runs. The rest of his game, however, remained largely unchanged, as he still hit .289 and had 82 RBI in a season in which most of the Royals' hitters struggled at the plate. He even increased his walk rate and cut down on his strikeouts, which helped to maintain an impressive .374 on-base percentage. While a return of at least some of the power would make drafting Country Breakfast a little more appetizing in 2014, he still remains a fantastic option in the corner infield with even more value in leagues that count OBP instead of average.
Butler's career trajectory continued its ascent with a breakout season that saw him bat .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI over 161 games in 2012. He was easily the Royals' best and most consistent hitter, exhibiting strong plate discipline and above-average contact rates which led to an impressive .341 BABIP and subsequent .373 on-base percentage. He's made various improvements at the plate over the years and there is nothing in his batted ball data to indicate that he can't be even better, especially now in the prime of his career. Though used primarily as the team's designated hitter, Butler also increased his fantasy appeal with 20 appearances at first base, which grants him eligibility at the position in most leagues. Throw in the best nickname in baseball (Country Breakfast) and he's one of the hottest commodities at the corner infield in 2013.
In many ways the Billy Butler of 2011 was the Billy Butler of 2009. He again was a doubles machine who posted a batting average over .290, hit close to 20 home runs, drove in over 90 runs, and did most of his damage in the second half of the season. The strides he made in 2010 in his pitch recognition were lost somewhat as he went back to swinging at more pitches (52 strikeouts to just 17 walks in the second half of the season). That said, 2012 could be the year Butler puts it all together and becomes a premier DH. At the bare minimum, he's a safe pick for a player entering his prime years, but take note that he only played 11 games at first base last season and may not qualify there in many leagues as a result.
In many ways, 2010 was a career year for Butler, but he left fantasy owners wanting. He posted career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, plate appearances and walks, but his .151 ISO ranked 18th among major-league first baseman. He had just 11 home runs and 45 doubles with 78 RBI. Butler increased his walks and saw his strikeouts drop, and his new approach at the plate likely accounts for the power outage. Whether the complaints about the missing power this offseason are enough to sway Butler back to his old free-swinging ways remains to be seen.
Large expectations followed Butler heading into the 2008 season which saw him struggle and receive a demotion to the minor leagues. Butler turned around his fortunes in 2009 with a breakout year. Hitting .301 with 21 homers and 93 RBI, Butler finished second in the majors with 51 doubles. Butler pounded opposing pitching in the second half of the season slugging .540 with an OPS of .925. Butler has the potential to be a top fantasy player and will look to continue his annihilation of American League pitching in 2010.
Big things were expected for Butler, who was handed Kansas City's starting DH job after surprising as a call-up in 2007, and he seemed to be getting groomed to become the team's first baseman of the future. Instead, he wound up at Triple-A Omaha for a month after he hit just 11 doubles and one home run in his first 53 games. He returned at the end of June and hit .284/.320/.444 during his second stint with the team. He also showed some good plate discipline in the last 71 games, striking out just 31 times, but he did not walk all that much. He enters the 2009 season again labeled as the team's starting DH, and should see some time at first as well.
Butler stuck with the big league club after his second callup in 2007, replacing Mike Sweeney at DH for 69 games, and then slid over to first base once Sweeney returned in September. He had a decent rookie campaign, hitting .292/.347/.447 with eight home runs and 52 RBI in 329 at-bats. There was some talk of him moving to first base for the 2008 campaign, but it looks like his iron glove will keep him at DH. His strong bat, patience at the plate (he had just 260 strikeouts over three-plus minor league seasons) and the fact he turns 22 at the start of the season suggest that he will be a productive member of the heart of the Royals' lineup for years to come.
In 2006, Butler continued to show a good eye at the plate and hit for power. He finished with a .331 batting average, his lowest single-season mark since the Royals selected him in the first round of the 2004 draft. The only question left for Butler is when this Futures Game MVP will arrive in Kansas City. It could be as early as Opening Day in 2007, but new Royals GM Dayton Moore has professed to be patient with his young players. Moore also has a number of strong young outfield prospects to judge, such as Shane Costa, Chris Lubanski, Mitch Maier, Joey Gathright, David DeJesus and, possibly, Mark Teahen, but Butler is the best of the bunch at this point.
He's only 20 years old, but Butler looks like the real thing. He'll have to be the real thing in the outfield, though, after moving there from third base in 2005 to quicken his path to the majors. The Royals try to be patient with their top prospects, but Butler could weasel his way onto the Major League club sometime in 2006. Once that happens, the Royals should no longer be looking for that coveted corner outfielder with power.
The Royals appear to be drafting like a professional baseball franchise now after falling on their face in the first round in 1996 (Dee Brown), 1997 (Dan Reichert), 1998 (Jeff Austin, Matt Burch), 1999 (Kyle Snyder), 2000 (Mike Stodolka) and 2001 (Colt Griffin). With Zach Greinke (2002), Chris Lubanski (2003) and Butler (2004), the Royals are creating a core of talent that may pull them from the cellar. Butler's rookie-ball season was a monster, with a .373 average and 35 extra-base hits in 260 at-bats. He shows patience at the plate, good power and a high-average future. He's a work-in-progress at third and may shift to first at some point. Wherever he plays, he will hit.
The high-schooler from Jacksonville projects to be a power hitter who is a third baseman currently but footwork combined with arm strength suggests a move to right field as a pro.
More Fantasy News
Making Yankees debut Thursday
1BNew York Yankees  
September 15, 2016
Butler is in the lineup Thursday against Boston, Erik Boland of Newsday reports.
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Signs with Yankees
1BNew York Yankees  
September 14, 2016
Butler has a deal in place with the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.
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Gets released Sunday
1BOakland Athletics  
September 11, 2016
Butler was released by the Athletics on Sunday.
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Activated Monday
1BOakland Athletics  
August 29, 2016
Butler (concussion) was activated from the disabled list Monday
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On track to come off disabled list Monday
1BOakland Athletics  
Concussion
August 26, 2016
Butler (concussion) participated in workouts Friday night, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
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