Dan Butler is not a guy that is on any prospect lists, nor is he a guy expected to produce a whole lot at the big league level, but then again he has dealt with the absence of expectations his whole career.
Butler grew up in the Phoenix area, and instead of going to the local Arizona State, he headed down the road to Tucson to play baseball at the University of Arizona. He wasn’t drafted out of college thanks in large part to his .263 average in his final season, but was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Boston Red Sox.
In 2009, the year he was signed after the draft, he played 22 games in the New York-Penn League and hit just .179 but, due to roster construction, got called up to Salem anyway, where he failed to get a hit in his two games.
In 2010 he hit .327 in Greenville and .292 in Salem before making the jump to Triple-A where he once again failed to get a hit in his two games.
In 2011 he began the season in High-A, but once again worked his way up to Triple-A, then opened 2012 in Double-A, but got promoted once again. He spent all of 2013 in Triple-A and stayed there through July of this year.
His career minor league average is just .254, but he has spent part of five of his six seasons in Triple-A. The 27-year old catcher has a strong arm, is pretty good behind the plate, and has flashed a little power with two seasons of double digit home runs, but his ceiling is still as an average big league backup.
With David Ross on the DL, A.J. Pierzynksi now in St. Louis, and Ryan Lavarnway having played himself out of the conversation of a big league backstop, Butler finally got the call to be a big leaguer. He has, naturally, spent the entirety of his first two games on the bench behind fellow rookie catcher Christian Vasquez.
Butler should get the chance to finally make his big league debut this week, realizing the dream most ballplayers don’t get the chance to realize after seeing 1,521 players drafted, and not being one of them.