Young Royals nominated for Aaron award

Young Royals nominated for Aaron award

KANSAS CITY -- Firepower in the Royals' domain has been increasing lately and Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo and Mark Teahen have been among those stirring the embers.

Those three players are also the Royals' nominees for this year's Hank Aaron Award.

The Hank Aaron Award, presented by Sharp, is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having three nominees. This is the seventh-consecutive year that fans have had a voice in selecting the award winners.

Fans can vote now through Sept. 15 to determine the club nominee, and then voting will be held Sept. 16-30 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced during the World Series.

Last year's winners were Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.

Butler, the Royals' top Draft choice in 2004, has not been a home run hitter in the Aaron tradition -- yet. But he's developed so well that he's become a fixture in the Royals' No. 3 hole. In the first week of August, he blazed at a .538 clip with 10 RBIs and was American League Player of the Week.

Butler has been flirting with the .300 mark and leads the Royals in RBIs. Three times he's had three-double games and, with 41 now, he might approach Hal McRae's club record of 54 doubles in 1977.

Callaspo, the Royals' leading hitter for much of the season, is also hovering around .300. He's had a 13-game hitting streak and seven streaks of seven or more games. A switch-hitter, he's been the second-toughest batter to fan in the AL with just one whiff in every 14.8 appearances.

In addition, Callaspo had never before homered in the Majors but he has seven this year.

Teahen, in his fifth year with the Royals, got off to a fast start and, while he's had his ups and downs, has been a pretty consistent performer at bat. Going into this week's Chicago series, he was second on the club in runs scored and third in hits, doubles and on-base percentage.

In April, Teahen had a five-hit game at Texas and finished the month at .300. He's batted .407 when fifth in the batting order and .293 at home.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.