Christian asked the following:
Billy Butler or Pablo Sandoval… Pablo Sandoval or Billy Butler…
Man, that’s a problem I wish I had myself. For those who have been reading the site, you know how big of a fan I am of Sandoval, and that’s why this answer may be a bit surprising. I’d go with Billy Butler. That is, of course, assuming they are both simply eligible at 1B. If Sandoval is eligible at C, or will be eligible with 5 games (since I think he’ll get there by early May), then it’s him without a doubt. Assuming that it’s at least 10 in season, however, it’s going to take him far longer to become eligible at the position (especially with Bengie Molina manning the position and the clean-up slot), it’s a hole different story.
They are as close as possible, I just feel like Butler has the better chance of taking it to the next level, to becoming the .300, 25 HR, 100 RBI player that both have the potential of being. He has taken his lumps, culminating in his demotion last season, but he hasn’t let it break him. Instead, he returned to the majors in July and hit 11 HR and showed the league the type of player he is capable of being. Is he going to reach his full potential? Maybe, maybe not, but the possibility is there to take the next step.
Sandoval was on fire upon getting his chance to play, hitting a robust .345 over 145 AB. The thing is, he had never played above Double A prior to being recalled and was the benefactor of an unrepeatable .367 BABIP. His average is going to drop, and while it should be near .300, it could be below it. While he hit a total of 23 HR last season, only 3 of them came in the major leagues. His FB% was very low (28.9%), but his HR/FB was not typical of a power hitter either (7.7%). He could have the same type of lack of power that plagued Butler early on last season, though I would anticipate him coming in between 13-18.
Honestly, I see the two likely being the same type of player. Like I said, depending on your league rules, Sandoval becomes the easy choice due to catcher eligibility, especially if your league requires 2 starters. He has the potential to be a Top 10 catcher this season, giving him tremendously more value then Butler. It’s an extremely tough position to fill, so when you have a chance to hold onto a player like him, it’s an easy call.