With the MVP Award set to be given out tonight by Major League Baseball, today is a great time to hand out my KC Royals Player of the Year Award.
The Royals Minor League Player of the Year was a no-brainer, as the outfielder has been racking up all kinds of awards. I’ll get to him later on in my awards coverage.
At the big league level, the Player of the Year was a tougher choice. I had it down to an outfielder and a DH.
I decided to go with the DH, Billy Butler. It seemed appropriate considering he was the lone Royals representative at the All-Star Game and that he should garner some votes tonight for the American League MVP.
Butler put up offensive numbers similar to every other season he has been in the big leagues. However, in 2012, the power finally broke out.
He hit .313, which was tied for sixth in the AL. He played in 161 games and scored 72 runs. Butler hit 29 homeruns and drove in 107, both were career highs. His RBI total was sixth in the AL. He also hit 32 doubles, had an on-base percentage of .373, and a slugging percentage of .510.
Those numbers finally made him an All-Star, as he represented the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Unfortunately, he wasn’t asked to participate in the HR Derby and the hometown fans were not thrilled about that.
Butler even got a chance to play more first base, and not just during Interleague Play. With the struggles (and then injury) of Eric Hosmer, Butler played twenty games at first base (he did make three errors).
The Kansas City BBWAA also honored Butler as their Player of the Year. But really, all he wants is to play on a winning team.
RUNNER UP: The outfielder I mentioned in the beginning, Alex Gordon. The way the 2012 season started for him, it would be hard to think he could even be considered. But unlike Hosmer, he made adjustments and put together his second consecutive solid season.
It wasn’t until his sixth game of the season that he picked up a hit. At the end of April, he was hitting just .232. He struggled a bit in May (just a .241 average), but took off after that. Gordon hit .316 after the All-Star break, but it started before that. He hit .349 in June and .342 in July.
When the season ended, Gordon led the AL in doubles with 51 (well he led all of baseball). He ended up hitting .294 with 93 runs scored. Not bad for a guy who moved all over the lineup.
Gordon also continued his solid play in left field, earning himself a Fielding Bible and his second consecutive Gold Glove. He was second in the AL in outfield assists to teammate Jeff Francoeur with 17. He committed just two errors and completed three double plays. He also has a range factor of 2.10, which is very similar to that of BJ Upton, who is considered somewhat of an elite outfielder.