No MLB Draft selection? No big deal to PHS slugger Butler

No MLB Draft selection? No big deal to PHS slugger Butler

EAST PROVIDENCE – Billy Butler wasn’t angry or disappointed last week when, after 40 rounds of the three-day MLB Draft, his name wasn’t called by any of the 30 Major League ballclubs.

Instead, the Ponaganset High senior left fielder turned the page on that experience and quickly shifted his focus to his team’s pursuit of its third straight Division II championship and last Thursday night’s winners’ bracket final against Narragansett at Pierce Field, which the Chieftains won by a 1-0 score.

Butler, who will be continuing his magnificent baseball career next year “down the road” at the University of Rhode Island, went 0-for-3 at the plate, but he made a nice diving catch in the top of the seventh inning to back ace pitcher Kenny Desrosiers’ three-hit gem.

After celebrating the final out of the game with his teammates, the First-Team All-Stater took some time to talk about the draft and his feelings before, during, and after it.

“I’m excited for the future either way,” he said. “That’s what I was thinking in the days leading up to the draft. I was like, ‘Either way, (playing at URI or signing with an MLB team) are both awesome opportunities, all the way around, so I wasn’t disappointed.”

When the MLB Draft started on Monday, June 4, and ended with the final 25 rounds two days later, Butler kept an eye on the MLB Draft Tracker, not only hoping to see his name pop up on it, but “I was looking for names that I knew,” he added. When the 40th round came and went and Butler still hadn’t seen his name flash on the screen, he shrugged it off and called the overall experience “a lot of fun.”

During the season, Butler and his team had seen MLB scouts at their games taking a peek at the 6-foot-2 slugger who was last season’s Division II-North Player of the Year and helped Woonsocket’s Navigant Post 85 American Legion baseball team win the state championship.

Head coach Anthony Parrillo noted after his team’s regular-season finale against Woonsocket that the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks were among the ballclubs who checked out Butler.

“It’s been a great four years watching him play,” Parrillo said. “It’s been really exciting this year. We’ve never had a kid come through here with that much attention, with the scouts and whatnot. Besides, he’s already going to a good D-I school on scholarship, so he’s going to be fine.

“The biggest thing right now is that he’s having fun here and he’s enjoying his last year of high school and helping us do whatever we do.”