ESPN.com has an automated version of the old Favorite Toy of Bill James fame. What does the Toy say about Billy Butler's chances of reaching 3,000 hits?
Well, the chances aren't good, though that shouldn't be surprising. According to the Toy, Butler will finish his career with 1917 hits. He has only a 5% chance of reaching 3,000 hits.
However, Butler's total is dragged down by the fact that he's only played two full seasons in the Major Leagues. So when you enter in his three-years-ago total, it makes Billy look a little worse than he is. If we assume that Butler will get 180 hits this season, when you plug in Butler's info, it becomes a 16% chance, with a career total of 2200. Adding in a projection to a projection is pretty silly, but then again, this is a toy, right?
No player is likely to reach any of the landmark milestones. For many, they simply don't reach the Majors soon enough to start racking up totals. That hasn't been Butler's problem. He played partial seasons at age 21 & 22 and was a regular by age 23. It will be interesting to see how Butler's offensive profile develops over the years. Will his hits totals go down, as he walks more and hits for more power? Will he remain a high average guy through his peak? We simply don't know. As I've written many times, Butler is a fascinating player who doesn't really perform the way we'd think a guy that looks like he does should. And mostly, he's still young. It'll be fun to find out.