The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)
School: Wabash Valley (IL) College
Selected 2012 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
CariocaCardinal (34): Butler has succeeded everywhere he has pitched as a professional. I have some concern that he was more hittable this year at Springfield than in the past - but who isn't more hittable in the Texas League? Despite that, his K rates remained high and his ERA low.
I expect Butler to be the closer in Triple-A next year despite several higher profile relievers being there. I am a little leery of pitchers who rely too heavily on their slider due to injury and Butler fits that bill - but you can't argue with the results so far in his young career.
Message board community (44): The soon-to-be 24-year-old was placed on the 40-man roster, which is pretty high praise given the current organizational depth.
Though somewhat undersized and not having a high-octane arm, Butler has racked up 215 strikeouts in just 171 professional innings, to go along with an exceptional 2.21 ERA. Keith's out pitch is a slo-mo slider at 72-75 mph, which he will throw to any hitter, in any count.
Even with a mere 89-92 mph fastball, Butler's slippery slider may be enough to get the 24th-rounder to the majors as a Fernando Salas-type middle reliever. It's certainly impossible to argue with his results so far. - BobReed
Brian Walton (39): At number 39, my ranking falls right in the middle of the voters. I have to admit that the Cardinals organization adding Butler to their 40-man roster after the season both surprised me a bit and influenced my ranking.
Texas League voters respected Butler, recognizing him as both a mid- and post-season all-star. I respect Butler’s results, too, which included just one blown save in 30 opportunities between the regular and post-season, yet his appearances were sometimes an adventure. His ERA was 2.76, but his FIP was over three-quarters of a run higher at 3.58.
I asked one organization official why Butler remained as Springfield’s primary ninth-inning option despite more prototypical upper 90’s mph-throwing closer types on the Double-A roster. The answer was simple – “Don’t mess with success.”
Yet a new season in 2013 means new competition for jobs at the next level up. As the pyramid narrows, I predict Butler’s days closing may be over. Still, I can see him reaching the majors, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters’ philosophies in making their selections.
Not yet a subscriber to The Cardinal Nation? Join today for as little as $7.95 after our seven-day free trial and be able to read all our Top 40 articles and much more exclusive content.
There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our “40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects” feature here at The Cardinal Nation?
Subscribe now to our annual pass and receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospect Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to “40 Days” includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.
Special offer. This week only, you can pick up one free month with a new subscription. Or, if you are a current monthly or three-month subscriber, you can participate in this special buy one, get one offer as well. Get your free month by upgrading your subscription to an annual pass.
To place your order, contact the Scout.com Subscription Center toll-free at 888-501-5752, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday. This offer is only good through Friday, December 7, so don’t wait!
© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.