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MLB Predictions 2011: Billy Butler and Joakim Soria Will Be All Stars

Royals first baseman Billy Butler is on the rise, and his team is ready for him to have a breakout season in 2011.
Royals first baseman Billy Butler is on the rise, and his team is ready for him to have a breakout season in 2011.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2011

This is something that the Royals haven't had for awhile: two All-Stars in the same season.

However, it could very well be a reality this year for KC, with a strong possibility of their two best players making the cut.

If you really think about this, it starts to make some sense.

On one hand, you have a two-time All-Star closer in Joakim Soria and on the other hand, you have an emerging, young hitter in Billy Butler, who has really improved in many areas throughout his short big league career.

Soria is one of the best closers in the game and if you didn't know his background, you might be surprised that he is a former Rule 5 draft pick that was actually traded from the Padres' organization.

He could have been a dentist, as he has two siblings that do this, but he chose baseball in the end.

Needless to say, the Royals are very happy that he made that decision, as its hard to imagine where the back end of their bullpen would be today without him.

As for Butler, he is one of those guys that you really want to root for.

He was drafted out of high school in 2004, after being named to four different All-State teams for Wolfson High in Jacksonville, Florida.

He got his start with the Royals during the '07 season after Mike Sweeney went down due to injury.

Butler had an rocky start to his ML career, but over the last couple of seasons, he has started to put it together.

From '09 to '10, Butler increased his average 17 points from .301 to .318, all while upping his OBP 26 points as well.

Billy is developing a better eye for opposing pitching and all he needs is to get more power in his swing, which many Royal officials believe will happen soon.

Both of these guys are capable of having huge seasons and in '11, they appear to be ready to lead this team in more ways than one.

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