Butler’s fastball reaches the low 90s, and in time could naturally grow into a mid-90s offering where he can reach back and get to 97 or 98. Velocity isn’t everything, however, as it’s much more critical that he stays on top of his heater and attacks the bottom of the strike zone. He’s already showing as a flyball pitcher, but he can’t let the ratios get out of hand.
His 4-seamer has decent movement, but adding a two-seamer to feed his ground ball ratio wouldn’t be bad idea.
Curve Ball: 55/70
Currently his out pitch, Butler’s curve ball isn’t a true 12-6 breaking ball, but is certainly a curve, not a slider, as has been reported elsewhere. After a 93-mph four-seamer, try hanging in to fight off a 1-7 curve ball with sharp, late action breaking down and out of the zone. Yeah, that’s a good pitch, and it’s only going to get better.
His breaking ball might be his bread and butter and his magic carpet to The Show.
The fact that Butler feels good enough about his change-up to throw it as much as he has of late, is a great sign that he understands how important changing speeds truly is for any pitcher.
The club asked him to back off the breaking ball a little bit, so he’s pretty much using fastball-change as he finishes off the year. Considering the fact that he still isn’t getting hit…
Now, it's the part of the show where I tell you my thoughts on Tony Butler. I see the tall lefty to be a successful pitcher in a few years. He has a good arsenal of pitches, but still needs a bit of work with his command, but that will come with experience. Butler is another one of those prospects that could be rushed up to AAA or even the MLB, but shouldn't. The Orioles should take this guy slowly, and watch him succeed further down the road, instead of tomorrow. I think that a comparable pitcher to Butler could be Scott Kazmir. Both show the same qualities; tall, left handed, strong arm, and an overall good pitcher. Look for Butler in 2010 or 2011.