Billy Butler and MLB's Most Underappreciated Hitting Stars
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Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals doesn't get the respect he deserves.
He's a lifetime .300 hitter and had 29 home runs and 107 RBI in 2012.
Yet he still doesn't get the respect he deserves across baseball.
Regardless of the fact that Butler plays for the Royals, he continually goes out and does his job.
Sunday was just another example as he went 2-for-4 with one home run and seven RBI in a win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
However, Butler is not the only hitting star who doesn't get the respect he deserves. Here's a look at nine others.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
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Outside of a few baseball experts, Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays doesn't get the respect he deserves.
While Martin Prado is constantly praised about his ability to play multiple positions, many forget Zobrist can do the same thing.
Zobrist has been called on to play every position except pitcher and catcher in his career with the Rays.
And, he hits for more power than Prado does.
While his average may not be as high (.261), Zobrist has hit 20 home runs each of the last two seasons and reached 97 RBI in 2012.
With Evan Longoria in town, it's easy for Zobrist to get lost in the fray. But, he still deserves respect for what he's done.
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If you live outside Chicago, it can be hard to appreciate what White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko does.
While other players his age are starting to break down (Todd Helton, Alex Rodriguez), Konerko continues to get the job done at the plate.
In 2012, Konerko hit .298 with 26 home runs and 75 RBI. He also finished second on the team in hits with 159.
It is nice to see that Konerko is getting the respect he deserves when it comes to being selected for the All-Star Game.
However, when it comes to the conversation of some of the top sluggers in MLB, Konerko is left out on a consistent basis.
Sure, he's getting older (37 this year). But, until he shows that his power is truly gone, he deserves to be in that topic of conversation.
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It was almost as if the moment Carlos Quentin went to the San Diego Padres, he was considered an afterthought.
Quentin only managed seven home runs in Petco Park during an injury-riddled 2012, but he's still got power to all fields.
While it's hard to get things out in Petco, Quentin has shown he can hit the long ball in other places.
With 18 total games at Coors Field and AT&T Park, Quentin will definitely have his chances to boost his home run numbers.
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Allen Craig is one of those players who will hit 20-25 home runs (or more) every year, and most people still won't know who he is.
The St. Louis Cardinals slugger batted .307 with 22 home runs and 92 RBI in 2012, coming up key in clutch situations.
With runners in scoring position, Craig has a .356 career average with 14 home runs and 124 RBI. He also has a .312 career average with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Simply put, Craig takes care of business when he needs to.
He just doesn't get the respect he deserves across the league.
The respect will continue to go to guys like Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.
But that's okay. Craig will continue to do his thing, and the Cardinals will keep winning.
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Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman gets the respect he deserves in Atlanta.
However, outside the city limits, he barely gets any around the league.
Maybe it's because first base is where many of the power hitters in MLB are at.
But, when it comes to his glove and his bat, Freeman is not appreciated outside of Atlanta.
Freeman has 45 home runs and 170 RBI over his first two seasons in the big leagues. Unlike a certain other star on his team (Jason Heyward), he didn't have a sophomore slump, with 23 home runs and 94 RBI.
With Justin and B.J. Upton in town, Freeman will be pushed to the back burner again. But, consider he already has seven RBI this year, while having a strained oblique.
When he gets back from the disabled list, he'll continue to produce.
Maybe one day, he'll finally be appreciated for being the cleanup hitter in Atlanta.
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After the start to the season he's had, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis might not be on this list much longer.
After struggling in his time with Texas, Davis came to the Orioles as someone who would be a serviceable MLB player.
However, Davis has been more than serviceable in his two years with Baltimore.
He's batting .277 in his career with the Orioles with 39 home runs and 115 RBI.
This year, he's hitting .455 in the season's first week with four home runs and 17 RBI. He began the season by hitting home runs in four-straight games.
Davis is starting to gain more appreciation across the league, but he's not there yet.
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Michael Morse continually got lost in the crowd in Washington.
Now with the Seattle Mariners, Morse is finally getting his chance to be in the spotlight.
Morse has always been a good power hitter, but like others on this list, he doesn't get the respect he deserves.
It's understandable that Morse was the odd-man out when Adam LaRoche re-signed with the Nationals.
But, let's not forget what Morse brought to the table in Washington.
Between 2010-12, Morse batted .296 with 64 home runs and 198 RBI. Injuries limited him to 98 games in 2010 and 102 games in 2012, but he still showed he could provide power when healthy.
Now in Seattle, and as long as he can stay healthy, Morse will do the same for the Mariners.
He's now in the spotlight, so he'll be another player that should be off this list in the not-too-distant future.
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Josh Willingham was always a player who would get you 20 or more home runs, but his power was never something people talked about.
That was until he got to the American League.
In his one year with Oakland, Willingham hit 29 home runs with 98 RBI, showing he was a true power hitter.
Then, in his first season with the Minnesota Twins last year, Willingham hit .260 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI.
Needless to say, he led many fantasy owners to titles last year.
With Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in town, they'll continue to get the headlines, but everyone knows Willingham is the guy that carries the team.
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For all the talk about how Alfonso Soriano isn't valuable, he continues to belt home runs and hit for a decent average.
Soriano has been in trade rumors for many years with the Chicago Cubs, mainly because of his $17-19 million a year salary.
However, the one thing he continues to do is hit home runs.
Most people don't realize it, but if Soriano hits 28 home runs this year, he'll have 400 for his career.
That's not a lot to brag about, especially considering the numbers a guy like Albert Pujols has put up.
However, Soriano consistently puts up 20-plus home runs a year and doesn't get the same respect he once got when he was with the Yankees.
Is there a correlation between that?