Future Stars Series Advisory Board Profile: Joe Butler

There is, as is the case with most baseball talent evaluators online, not much to be found when searching for information on legendary Chicago White Sox scout Joe Butler.

It implies that his contributions to the game aren’t numerous, that they weren’t significant.

That can’t be further from the truth.

The Compton native has been with the White Sox for over three decades and is one of their most trusted scouts, having signed seemingly countless big leaguers over that time period. From Brandon McCarthy to Jim Parque to Chris Young, he’s seen them all as a crosschecker and signed plenty on his own, including FSS National Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator Jason Aspito, who was selected in the ninth round by the White Sox in 2000 and enjoyed a lengthy and successful professional playing career.

After starting with the now-defunct Major League Baseball scouting bureau, Butler has climbed the ladder from an area scout over his first decade with the White Sox organization, to crosschecker supervising the West Coast to now serving as one of the organization’s most trusted scouts.

He’s also played significant roles in evaluating players for potential trades, as was the case in this story by The Athletic on “The Greatest White Sox trade ever” for Jon Garland, in which Butler is the lede of the piece. Garland, of course, was a critical part of the 2005 team that brought the World Series trophy to the South Side.

It’s one of many stories where Butler’s hard work and dedication to finding players bettered those around him; he was also mentioned in the New York Post several years ago as being one of the scouts with a close eye on another team’s players around the trade deadline.  Furthermore, he’s dedicated his career to helping others become more involved in the game, as evidenced by another well-known tale about a then-upstart player agent who was benefitted by Butler pulling him aside and getting into the process of scouting with him.

While information may be somewhat hard to find, the impact he’s made on the White Sox organization, the game as a whole and especially those around him is not.

Just ask.

“It’s hard to quantify the impact Joe Butler has had on me and the baseball community as a whole,” said Future Stars Series president and CEO Jeremy Booth.

“I met Joe at 13 years old, and he was a big part of shepherding my life forward. He used to drop baseball bats on my doorstep to hit with. He was open with me about my performance. He probably saw me play over 100 times in high school and college. The man knew my family, gave me rides home from workouts, and was invested in the community and its overall growth in ways everyone felt. His dad, Tommy, was always Mr. Butler to me and had a smile on his face every time I saw him. I remember walking into a game against Mira Costa High School when I was a junior with the league championship on the line, and I walk in and see Mr. Butler. I shook his hand and asked him what he was doing there. He said, ‘To see you,’ with a smile. It was great.

“Later, as a pro and then a scout, I remember Joe had me figured out and there was no BS or feeling bad about anything. There was one time I went back to school to play football and I told Joe that. He told me if I made it in the NFL he would be at my first game. He said I could come out the tunnel and give him the finger because I switched sports. I’m still laughing about that. Joe Butler transcends baseball with his presence and his passion. I’m honored to have him help shape my life.”

Butler has been an invaluable contributor to the Future Stars Series, providing insight on role analysis at the next level, consultation on event formats as well as mentorship to those on the staff. His decades of experience in connecting talent to the game and properly being able to find ways to utilize that talent give players and partner programs an incredible value.

Mike Ashmore

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