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The Best Of Billy Butler Is Yet To Come

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The young first baseman is seeing the ball better than ever.

Billy Butler is getting better. At least, that's what this season's stats seem to confirm. And that's good news for a Royals team going forward with a youth movement that's sure to bring more excitement as the minor league system gives way to the majors. In short, Butler should become an offensive cornerstone for years to come.

Over the course of the last four years, Butler's numbers have gone up every year, so the fact that he's becoming a better adjusted major league hitter shouldn't come as any surprise. Within that team, his current .311 batting average stands as a career best to this point, as does his .381 on-base percentage. Every year has come with an increase in power and average and that bodes well for the future. But beyond that, there's signs that the best is still yet to come.

Even up to last year, Butler was striking out way too much. Last year's ratio of 58 walks to 103 Ks simply wasn't going to get it done if Butler was truly going to live up to the potential. The Royals need an Adrian Gonzalez figure, someone who the offense can count on night in and night out. Yet he continued to be easily fooled by the better pitchers in the American League. That is, until this year.

The new totals: 45 walks, 49 Ks. That's an almost 1:1 ratio and an incredible jump from one season to the next. It means that Butler's eye continues to get sharper with each new month. Even in the month of July, the signs continued to improve with 17 walks and only 12 Ks.

The question might be asked: Why is this so important? Who cares about a few walks and strikeouts one way or the other, right? The reality is that if Billy Butler is seeing the ball more clearly out of the pitcher's hands, he's that much more capable of choosing the right pitch to hit. The better BB:K ratio also means increased power, increased production and more runs for the Royals. And with Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer on the way, it seems the Royals offensive unit might hold a bright future moving forward.