Back in late April we happily noted that Billy Butler had only grounded into one double play. This was, err, noteworthy because Butler led the American League with 32 GIDPs in 2010. That was a rough campaign than came on the heels of two top/bottom ten appearances in 2008-09.
After that nearly GIDP-less April Butler has more or less returned to being his usual self. Since May 1 he's grounded into nine DPs, giving him 10 on the season. He seems likely to end up with, say, 17-20 GIDPs this season, which is a manageable number.
Look, Billy is a slow guy who hits a fair number of ground balls. He's going to hit into double plays unless the Royals hit Chris Getz in front of him all season long. Oh wait...Crucially, given that Butler's actually hitting the ball on the ground even more this season (49.5% in '11, career rate of 48%), this drop in GIDPs is completely random. It would be a bigger project to determine if Butler's slight drop in GIDP rate is simply connected to having fewer PAs with a man on first and less than two outs. I-Team, feel free to investigate the splits section at B-R!
Butler has become a strangely divisive figure and I don't want this post to be construed as an anti-Butler piece. I am, on the whole, Team Butler. I do think that prior to this season he's been slightly over-rated by Royals fans, but that has changed this season. The GIDPS, like Butler's lack of speed and lack of a position are issues. They are. It's just important to keep them in proper perspective.
Anyway, there's your double-play update.