Scouting Mets' Prospect #45: Drew Butera

The New York Mets selected Andrew "Drew" Butera in the fifth round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of University of Central Florida. Upon signing with the Mets, he immediately became one of the elite defensive catchers not only in the Mets' farm system, but at the entire minor league level. Ranking #45 among the Top 50 Mets' prospects, here's a scouting report on Drew Butera.

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Vital Statistics:
Name: Drew Butera
Position: Catcher
DOB: August 9, 1983
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Like numerous players before him, Drew Butera came away with warm memories of suiting up for the Brooklyn Cyclones in his first professional season.

The camaraderie and intense support tend to have that effect on players like Butera, with the more-than-7,000 fans at each home game far surpassing most anything seen during their collegiate careers.

"It was an amazing experience," said Butera, a 22-year-old catcher who played his first 55 pro games for Brooklyn after being selected in the fifth round from the University of Central Florida.

"I think the group we had up there was so laid-back and relaxed; we just had a good time no matter where we played, interacting with the fans or pulling little pranks on each other. The group we had there, I'll remember forever."

The season was made more memorable for Butera, the son of former major league catcher Sal Butera, by a display of defensive excellence.

Regarded as a top defensive catcher at UCF, Butera caught 29 of 62 basestealers for Brooklyn and shot to the top of Baseball America's end-of-season rankings as the best defensive catcher in the Mets organization.

"When I play, I try to do something to help the team every time out. With defense, I tend to do that more than i can with the wooden bat," Butera explained.

"I go out there and try to give it as much as I can for every game. Hopefully they saw that I can contribute when I play."

Butera's adjustment period from metal to wood took most of the first six weeks of the New York-Penn League season, with Butera batting .147 (10-for-68) through July 31.

Working with Cyclones hitting coach Donovan Mitchell, Butera said he was able to shorten his swing and make adjustments to better pick up pitches. After Aug. 1, Butera batted .261 (28-for-107), raising his average to its season end mark of .217.

"I believe I have a good swing, as I showed later in the year," Butera said. "With the constant hard work and being more prepared, I think that helped the adjustment. ... I thought it was a fun season. It took me a little while to get adjusted to the wood bat, but overall I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed it."

Back home in Orlando, Fla., Butera is currently on a program that includes weight training, running and agility work. Officially listed at 190 pounds, Butera says he'd like to get his playing weight up to 210 or 215 pounds by tacking on muscle.

"That's the one thing I feel can get me to the next level," Butera said. "Since the season ended I've been working on getting bigger and stronger in a good way."

With the NY-PL under his belt, Butera hopes his strong defense and improving bat can help him move quickly in the system.

Naturally, Butera is shooting for the Florida State League with St. Lucie, but with catchers Jesus Flores and Aaron Hathaway likely candidates to repeat that level, Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League may be more likely.

"They've given me some indication, but you have no idea," Butera said. "Things can happen, things can change. Hopefully I go into spring training, impress some people and move up a level from there."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2005

Brooklyn

.217

175

38

1

23

13

1

22

33

.305

.297



Batting and Power. Offensively, Drew Butera is a patient hitter with good gap power. He's pretty adept at going the other way with outside pitches, a skill he learned in college. That said, Butera projects to be more of a .260 type hitter at the Major League level someday. Butera will never be a power hitter at the minor league level, let alone the Major League level. He's the type of hitter that will get a few home runs here and there, but should contribute a fair number of doubles. Think Brad Ausmus and Mike Matheny for good offensive comparisons.

Base Running and Speed. Butera is one of the more athletic catchers you'll find, especially at the minor league level. He may not have great speed, but at the catcher's position, his speed is definitely above average. Butera is a very intelligent base runner with good baseball instincts. Combine that with his athletic ability, there's no reason he can't swipe 8-10 bases per year.

Defense. The bread and butter of Butera's game is his amazing defense. The Mets are loaded with elite defensive catching prospects: Joe Hietpas, Aaron Hathaway, and Jesus Flores. But Butera is arguably the best of the bunch. Butera is plus defensive catching prospect who receives the ball extremely well, calls a good game, and blocks balls in the dirt with the best of them. However, his arm behind the plate, and more to the point his quick release on throws to second base, is a sight to behold. Butera's defense alone should carry him all the way to the Major Leagues.

Projection. What Butera eventually becomes at the Major League level will depend solely on his offensive progression. His defensive ability is more than enough to make him a backup catcher at the Major League level, at minimum. If he can become the offensive player that he and the Mets believe he can become, which is a Brad Ausmus and Mike Matheny type, he'll have a shot to become a starting catcher at the Major League level. Remember, Mike Matheny was a career .246 hitter with 18 home runs in 1,193 minor league at-bats, so the bar isn't set too high.

ETA. 2009. If not for the presence of Aaron Hathaway and Jesus Flores at the A-level in the Mets' farm system, and if Butera's bat was a bit more polished at the present time, Butera's estimated timetable of reaching the Major League level would possibly be a little sooner. As it stands right now, Butera is going to have a hard time leapfrogging those two. Expect to see Butera with the Hagerstown Suns in 2006 as the starting catcher with a possible call up to St. Lucie later in the season, putting him on a projected path to reach the Majors by 2009.

____________________________________________________

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Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n(FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)
\r\n
\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Drew Butera
\r\nPosition: Catcher
\r\nDOB: August 9, 1983
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 190
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nLike numerous players before him, Drew Butera came away with warm memories of suiting up for the Brooklyn Cyclones in his first professional season.\r\n

\r\nThe camaraderie and intense support tend to have that effect on players like Butera, with the more-than-7,000 fans at each home game far surpassing most anything seen during their collegiate careers.\r\n

\r\n\"It was an amazing experience,\" said Butera, a 22-year-old catcher who played his first 55 pro games for Brooklyn after being selected in the fifth round from the University of Central Florida.\r\n

\r\n\"I think the group we had up there was so laid-back and relaxed; we just had a good time no matter where we played, interacting with the fans or pulling little pranks on each other. The group we had there, I'll remember forever.\"\r\n

\r\nThe season was made more memorable for Butera, the son of former major league catcher Sal Butera, by a display of defensive excellence. \r\n

\r\nRegarded as a top defensive catcher at UCF, Butera caught 29 of 62 basestealers for Brooklyn and shot to the top of Baseball America's end-of-season rankings as the best defensive catcher in the Mets organization.\r\n

\r\n\"When I play, I try to do something to help the team every time out. With defense, I tend to do that more than i can with the wooden bat,\" Butera explained.\r\n

\r\n\"I go out there and try to give it as much as I can for every game. Hopefully they saw that I can contribute when I play.\"\r\n

\r\nButera's adjustment period from metal to wood took most of the first six weeks of the New York-Penn League season, with Butera batting .147 (10-for-68) through July 31. \r\n

\r\nWorking with Cyclones hitting coach Donovan Mitchell, Butera said he was able to shorten his swing and make adjustments to better pick up pitches. After Aug. 1, Butera batted .261 (28-for-107), raising his average to its season end mark of .217.\r\n

\r\n\"I believe I have a good swing, as I showed later in the year,\" Butera said. \"With the constant hard work and being more prepared, I think that helped the adjustment. ... I thought it was a fun season. It took me a little while to get adjusted to the wood bat, but overall I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.\"\r\n

\r\nBack home in Orlando, Fla., Butera is currently on a program that includes weight training, running and agility work. Officially listed at 190 pounds, Butera says he'd like to get his playing weight up to 210 or 215 pounds by tacking on muscle. \r\n

\r\n\"That's the one thing I feel can get me to the next level,\" Butera said. \"Since the season ended I've been working on getting bigger and stronger in a good way.\"\r\n

\r\nWith the NY-PL under his belt, Butera hopes his strong defense and improving bat can help him move quickly in the system. \r\n

\r\nNaturally, Butera is shooting for the Florida State League with St. Lucie, but with catchers Jesus Flores and Aaron Hathaway likely candidates to repeat that level, Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League may be more likely.\r\n

\r\n\"They've given me some indication, but you have no idea,\" Butera said. \"Things can happen, things can change. Hopefully I go into spring training, impress some people and move up a level from there.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2005

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .217

\r\n

\r\n 175

\r\n

\r\n 38

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 33

\r\n

\r\n .305

\r\n

\r\n .297


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Offensively, Drew Butera is a patient hitter with good gap power. He's pretty adept at going the other way with outside pitches, a skill he learned in college. That said, Butera projects to be more of a .260 type hitter at the Major League level someday. Butera will never be a power hitter at the minor league level, let alone the Major League level. He's the type of hitter that will get a few home runs here and there, but should contribute a fair number of doubles. Think Brad Ausmus and Mike Matheny for good offensive comparisons.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Butera is one of the more athletic catchers you'll find, especially at the minor league level. He may not have great speed, but at the catcher's position, his speed is definitely above average. Butera is a very intelligent base runner with good baseball instincts. Combine that with his athletic ability, there's no reason he can't swipe 8-10 bases per year.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. The bread and butter of Butera's game is his amazing defense. The Mets are loaded with elite defensive catching prospects: Joe Hietpas, Aaron Hathaway, and Jesus Flores. But Butera is arguably the best of the bunch. Butera is plus defensive catching prospect who receives the ball extremely well, calls a good game, and blocks balls in the dirt with the best of them. However, his arm behind the plate, and more to the point his quick release on throws to second base, is a sight to behold. Butera's defense alone should carry him all the way to the Major Leagues.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. What Butera eventually becomes at the Major League level will depend solely on his offensive progression. His defensive ability is more than enough to make him a backup catcher at the Major League level, at minimum. If he can become the offensive player that he and the Mets believe he can become, which is a Brad Ausmus and Mike Matheny type, he'll have a shot to become a starting catcher at the Major League level. Remember, Mike Matheny was a career .246 hitter with 18 home runs in 1,193 minor league at-bats, so the bar isn't set too high.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2009. If not for the presence of Aaron Hathaway and Jesus Flores at the A-level in the Mets' farm system, and if Butera's bat was a bit more polished at the present time, Butera's estimated timetable of reaching the Major League level would possibly be a little sooner. As it stands right now, Butera is going to have a hard time leapfrogging those two. Expect to see Butera with the Hagerstown Suns in 2006 as the starting catcher with a possible call up to St. Lucie later in the season, putting him on a projected path to reach the Majors by 2009.
\r\n
\r\n____________________________________________________
\r\n
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\r\n
\r\nSample the NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.
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