Kansas City Royals fans are still giddy about Billy Butler‘s two dramatic, game-winning home runs, and they should be. By all measures, it indicates a return to form that could be the only hope KC has for staying alive in the Wild Card race. If we look a little closer at his output, though, it looks like we should have seen this coming.
His recent heroics made many assume Billy just now got it together, but the stats tell a different story. Butler’s average raised from an awful .223 in April to a respectable .282 in May to an impressive .313. last month. Billy’s average through July is actually .037 lower than in the previous month. His three homers this month is his highest monthly total this season, but he has only six extra-base hits in total in July.
Without any more XBH in the next three games, this would be his worst monthly total since that dreadful April. Butler also batted in 13 runs in 96 at-bats in June. Sadly, that was his best rate of production for any month this season, which has a lot to do with why he was quickly thereafter dropped from the middle of KC’s lineup.
The Royals pay Butler to hit with power with runners on base, which is exactly what he needs to do before fans start calling this a comeback. Three Royals currently have more RBI and four have more extra-base hits with runners in scoring position. If Billy gets back to being himself, he should be at least No. 1 or No. 2 in both of those stats. It’s impossible not to think that Billy looks better as of late, but to get back to his expected level of production, he still has a lot of work to do.