When he wasn't in a game, Jacob Butler was off in a side field in Dunedin during spring training…
Butler's Career Year Began in the Spring
Butler started between Lansing and Dunedin last season, despite having the physical abilities to perform better. He batted just .251 in 98 games with Lansing last season with 11 home runs, and struck out 110 times in 375 at bats. Butler also saw limited action with Dunedin last season and batted just .145 with a home run and 17 strikeouts in 55 at bats. The 23-year-old knew how important his 2007 season will be and worked hard during the off-season and into spring training to tone his game. The work has paid off. Butler leads the Florida State League with 22 home runs and is third with 77 runs batted in. Butler also ranks fourth in the league with 74 runs scored. Part of his improvement this year has been his plate awareness. Although most scouts still believe he's striking out often for his level, Butler has lowered his strikeout ratio this year. An interesting look to his season would point out that Butler is having a tremendous amount of success at home. In Knology Park he's batting .299 with 16 home runs in 197 at bats, while on the road he's batting .239 with six home runs in 188. Butler was fairly consistent over the first three months of the season, but struggled in July. He batted just .202 in 26 games, however, he's raised his game to another level once again over his last 15 games, batting .271 with five home runs. Butler is expected to finish the year off in the Florida State League and he might find his way into some type of winter league action. For the time being, Butler remains as one of the top outfield prospects and power hitting prospects in the Jays system, and he'll be working hard once again this winter to avoid a letdown in 2008 when he begins the year off in Double-A.
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