Chasing The Dream: The Saxon Butler Story and Interview
Saxon Butler: Quick Stats
Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 227 lb.
Born: May 11, 1990 in Dunoon Scotland
Drafted: New York Yankees in the 33rd round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft
Favorite Player: Chipper Jones
Chasing The Dream: The Saxon Butler Story
Growing up in Alabama, Saxon Butler dreamt of being the next Chipper Jones, his boyhood idol. Butler started down the road toward making that dream a reality when the New York Yankees selected him in the 2012 draft.
Years before he was selected by the Yankees, Butler starred at Oxford High School in Alabama. The left-handed slugger hit for a .504 batting average and belted 16 home runs as a senior. This led to him being named to the All-State team by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Following his prep career, Butler played two seasons at Pensacola Junior College. He led his team in home runs, RBI’s, and batting average and was also named to the first-team All-Panhandle team.
Following those two seasons Butler transferred to Samford University where he continued to put up superb offensive numbers. As a junior, Butler set Samford baseball records for most doubles with 26 and RBI’s with 61. He also finished the year with nine home runs and a .355 batting average. As a senior, Butler continued swinging an impressive bat and finished the year with a .340 batting average. On top of the high average numbers he improved his power stroke launching 15 home runs over the fence.
Leading up to the 2012 amateur draft, Butler had talked to scouts from 10 to 12 different teams. The Yankees, who would eventually select him, were not one of those teams. On the morning he was selected he received an unexpected call from a Yankees scout who let him know that they planned on selecting him at some point that day. The Yankees were true to their word and selected Butler in the 33rd round. The Samford senior quickly signed with the Yankees and got started on his professional career.
The Yankees assigned Butler to their short season affiliate located in Staten Island and he quickly got off to a hot start with the bat. After playing in only 36 games and getting 142 at bats, Butler was in contention to win the NY-Penn League triple crown. The left-handed slugger hit 10 home runs in that span and had driven in 36 runners. The transition to the professional game did not slow him down as he hit .296 with and OPS of .990. The Yankees were impressed with what they saw in Butler so instead of letting him have his chance at the triple crown they let him have his chance at more advanced competition. Butler was promoted to Charleston of the South Atlantic League at the beginning of August.
The daily grind of the professional game, his college season, and the more advanced pitchers all began to wear Butler down in the seasons final month. Though he did not hit for as high of average (.235) he continued to display some power hitting additional three home runs with the RiverDogs. In the field Butler played primarily at 1st base in 2012, but the Yankees also used him as their designated hitter.
With his first professional season under his belt, Butler has a better understanding of the rigors of professional baseball and has better prepared himself this off-season to stay fresh and healthy. As the 2013 season nears Butler is ready to build upon the success he had in 2012. We will be sure to follow Butler every step of the way, from spring training games to the last pitch of the regular season. Follow Saxon on twitter @SaxonHolt33 and follow-us for updates on all our featured players at @CTD_Sypien.
Seven Questions with Saxon Butler
1. What was it like being drafted? Where were you when you found out?
I was at my best friends house. It was a dream come true to hear my name being called and by one of the most recognizable sports teams in the world. It was really an exciting time.
2. Did you have a feeling that the Yankees might draft you?
Well leading up to the draft I had talked to 10 or 12 different scouts but the Yankees were never one of those teams. On the day I got drafted they called me that morning before the draft started and said that at some point they were going to draft me. Later on that day I got another call from them letting me know they had just taken me.
3. What was the hardest part of transitioning to professional baseball?
In college you only play a few times a week and at the professional level you play everyday. It takes some getting used to but other than it was not that different. I was mostly seeing college arms at the level I was at. I just had to stay focused and try not to tire out from playing everyday.
4. You hit 13 home runs in a little over 200 at bats. Tell us a little more about your game at the plate and in the field?
I actually didn’t think I had that much power. I had played in a couple of collegiate wood bat leagues. Power has just come along the last few years. I had always hit for a high average with a little bit of power. The other thing I think I bring to the table is my mental attitude. One day you might go 0-4 and have some terrible at bats but the next day you have to rebound and get back out there. If I have a bad day I still believe and I am confident in my abilities to go back out there after a bad day and know I can get 4 hits.
5. What was the biggest thrill of you first professional season?
My biggest thrill was definitely on my first at bat, second pitch, I got my first hit and it was a home-run. It was pretty exciting to do that on my first professional at bat.
6. What do you do in the off-season to prepare for the upcoming season?
I’ve been working out hard and been eating right. At the end of last season I was about 240 pounds and at this point I’m down to 227. The Yankees brought me and some other guys down for a six-week off-season program. They taught us a lot about fitness and nutrition. I have put on some muscle and lost some fat. Even though I’ve lost some weight I’ve managed to add some muscle.
7. Playing in the Yankees organization there is a lot of history and tradition. Is there anything in particular the Yankees stress or teach to young players like yourself as you enter the organization?
I think they do a really great job. When players are drafted into the organization they don’t instruct them on how to hit or pitch for the first 30 days. They don’t say a word to you on how to do something, they allow you for those first 30 days to do what got you there. If you try to change a ball player as soon as you get there that could potentially mess a baseball player up. After that period is over they then analyse your swing and your game and help you from that point on.
A Few For Fun
1. Who was your favorite player growing up?
The one guy I’ve got to see play would be Chipper Jones. Growing up in Alabama, I have been a Braves fan. I think I have just about every Chipper Jones baseball card you can have along with signed pictures, bat, and balls. Chipper Jones was definitely my Idol as a kid.
2. Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?
I want the Ravens to win. I’ve always been a Ray Lewis fan, the way he plays is incredible. He has played middle linebacker so long at a high level. I really wanted the Falcons to make it. My dad grew up in the mid-west and was a Chiefs fan. I grew up being a Chiefs fan too and I always wanted to be like Tony Gonzalez when I played football. It would have been great to see him win. I don’t understand why Tony is retiring, he can still bring it at a high level.
3. What will be your At Bat song for 2013?
I have two that will rotate. The one that I always use will be “Your Love” by The Outfield and the other one will be Deliverance by Bubba Sparxx.
A special thanks to Saxon Butler for taking some time out of his off-season routine to answer some questions. We look forward to following him all season long and into the future. Please give Saxon a follow on twitter @SaxonHolt33 and like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter @CTD_Sypien as we continue to feature and follow all of our featured players as they chase their way to the major leagues.