Earlier this week, Yankees prospect Saxon Butler was promoted to Class-A Charleston. The first baseman/DH joined the Riverdogs hitting .296 and leading the New York Penn League in home runs (10) and RBI (36) for the Staten Island Yankees.
He started off on the right foot. In his Charleston debut he got a hit and knocked in a run.
Staten Island manager Justin Pope spoke about the twenty-two-year old just two days after his promotion:
We told these guys today, you have the 33rd round pick, and yet he's the first one to go up. That shows it doesn't matter where you're drafted, it matters what you do on the field. So he forced the Yankees to move him up there. He's deserving of it. It's a credit to what he's done here.
He's a little more advanced, he was a college senior so he had a good approach coming in. Everyday he knew what he had to do to get ready for the game. Then when he got to the plate he had a good approach. He had an idea what he wanted to do early in the count, then, same thing when he got two strikes on him. He'd tone it down a little bit. He just took what the pitcher did. I'd see him look at first pitch and wait for his pitch. He made good adjustments during at-bats.
Definitely both [teachable & natural talent]. I guess you could say he's a pure hitter, but yet he'd come to the ballpark everyday wanting to get better. He was always asking questions. Always watching video. Very coachable. Open to new suggestions. He knows his way is not the only way to do it.
HHOTF Note: Butler rapidly improved in his time with Staten Island. Not every player is a quick learner, but his approach and confidence seemed to grow with each at-bat. Honestly, he looked like a professional hitter from day one. He has a tendency to sometimes swing for the fences, but he never lost composure when not coming through with the big hit. His maturity, ability to pick up a pitcher quickly, and do the little things in key situations were all showcased since the start of the season.
Read my Staten Island Yankees Notebook for Gotham Baseball Magazine: http://www.gothambaseball.com/2012/08/staten-island-yankees-notebook/