by John Viril—
For most of his career, Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler has been an extra-base machine. He’s averaged 64 extra base hits over the last four seasons. He’s topped 40 doubles 3 times, including 50 in 2009. His slugging percentage has exceeded .460 every season since he turned 23.
This year he’s on pace for 46 extra base hits and his slugging percentage is .410.
What happened to Billy’s power?
The first number that jumps out at us is Butler’s decline in the percentage of fly balls that end up over the fence. His HR/FB percentage is a low 9.4, considerably down from his 19.9% rate in 2012 and his career rate of 11.4%. That’s a steep drop after what appeared to be a power breakthrough last season in which Butler set career highs in home runs (29) and slugging percentage (.510).
Digging into his plate discipline statistics on fangraphs.com and his pitch results on TexasLeaguers.com, it appears that Butler has cut down on his swing vs. past years.
At fangraphs, we see that...