SoxProspects News

October 14, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Dan Butler and Alex Wilson


SoxProspects.com is counting down its season-end top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and previewing what's ahead in 2014. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

#30: Dan Butler, C
2013 Team: Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 323 PA, .262/.350/.479, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 19 2B, 34 BB, 59 K

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Season in Review: After finishing 2012 with Triple-A Pawtucket, Butler returned to the PawSox for the 2013 campaign. The 26-year-old made strides at the plate, hitting a career-best 14 home runs while continuing to have a penchant for getting on base. Splitting time with Ryan Lavarnway to start the season, Butler got off to a pedestrian .218/.329/.370 start in his first 36 games. However, once he took over full-time starting duties behind the dish, Butler took off, hitting .294/.366/.558 the rest of the way, clubbing 11 home runs in 48 games. Butler got hot enough in July, hitting .362/.464/.690 with five home runs and 11 RBI, that he was named the SoxProspects.com Player of the Month.

First-Hand Report and 2014 Preview: Butler has worked himself into being a viable major league candidate, though an interesting dynamic emerged that could cloud what role he will have going forward. Behind the plate, Butler is a strong, capable defender. But this season, his best stretches at the plate came when Butler had regular at-bats while Ryan Lavarnway was in Boston. Butler’s hit tool isn’t particular strong, but he’s shown usable power over his career and could, at the very least provide some pop and strong defense in a major league bench role. Butler is on the 40-man roster, and will likely return to Pawtucket to start next season. – Jon Meoli

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#29 Alex Wilson, RHP
2013 Team: Pawtucket Red Sox/Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 17 IP, 3-1, 3.71 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 16 K, 5 BB (minors)
27.2 IP, 1-1, 4.88 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 22 K, 14 BB (majors)

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Season in Review: Entering the 2013 season ranked 16th in the system, Wilson was looking to follow up a solid 2012 campaign which saw him convert from a starter to a full-time reliever. Wilson received the call to Boston in early April and made his major league debut on the 11th against Baltimore. The right-hander enjoyed the early part of the season in Boston, posting a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings over 16 appearances, striking out 15 and walking nine. Returning to Pawtucket at the end of May, Wilson had an impressive start to June in Triple-A, compiling a 1.35 ERA in six outings. After less than two weeks back in Pawtucket, then shuttling up-and-down for one appearance each in Boston and Pawtucket, Wilson got his second lengthy shot in the majors, which did not go nearly as smoothly. He allowed nine earned runs in seven innings and allowed six of eight inherited runners to score as well. The rest of his season was essentially lost to injury—he went on the DL on July 9 with a thumb injury, and had one rehab stint in Pawtucket last four games before he re-aggravated the injury. He recovered in time to make five appearances at the end of the year for the PawSox, including playoffs.

First-Hand Report and 2014 Preview: Wilson didn't exactly take the step forward as a reliever this year that many hoped he would. With a fastball-slider combo that seemed naturally suited for relief, this looked like a year where he could take a hold of a full-time gig in the majors after transitioning to a bullpen role mid-season last year. Injuries played a factor, but his control has regressed as a reliever, and even when he was having success early in his major league time this year, he wasn't exactly blowing hitters away. One factor in his failure to live up to expectations in relief is that his fastball hasn't played up as expected after the move to the ‘pen, sitting around 92-93 mph this season, similar to where he was as a starter. Looking to next season, he’s likely to begin the year in Pawtucket due to his remaining options and looks primed to be one of the first relievers called upon when reinforcements are needed. He was never projected to develop into a future closer, but with an arsenal tailor-made for the bullpen and a strong mound presence, he still has a chance to develop into a reliable middle reliever or possibly more if he stays healthy and continues to hone his craft. – Matt Huegel

Photo Credit: Dan Butler and Alex Wilson by Kelly O'Connor

 
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