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Key Stats: At first glance, the 23 bases that Chase Utley stole last year come across as extremely lucky and impossible to be replicated. Going into last year Utley had averaged 14 steals a season and it didn’t seem likely just two years removed from hip surgery and at the age of 30 he would establish a new career high, but this is Chase Utley we’re talking about. The fact that he wasn’t caught stealing once makes me believe that Utley can and will return to this level, and that Kevin McAlister was lucky to have Harry and Marv as burglars rather than Chase.

Skeptics Say: As a result of seeing the most pitches per at bat of his career, things didn’t work out well for fantasy owners. Utley’s walk rate increased, but so did his strikeout rate. He also hit line drives 6% less of the time than he had in 2008. OBP leagues cheered Utley’s more patient approach since the walk rate increased more than the strikeout rate causing his OBP to rise 17 points versus last year. The Phillies management also cheered since OBP translates to runs which translates to wins and will likely support Utley’s approach going forward. This means that the days of Utley hitting in the .330 neighborhood as he did in 2007 are almost certainly over.

Peer Comparison: At one point in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Sarah Marshall went up to the character that actress Mila Kunis was playing and said “You’re really pretty.” Kunis’ character tried to return the favor, but Marshall interrupted her by saying “No you’re really pretty.” That’s kinda the world that Utley is living in among second basemen. In the last four years, Utley has been the top player at the position twice and finished second twice. The only years he wasn’t king of the hill Dustin Pedroia needed an MVP season and Brandon Phillips a 30/30 season to supplant him.

Lineup Outlook: The Phillies have the oldest team on average in Major League Baseball. Part of that is no fault of the hitters since Jamie Moyer’s grandchildren are old enough to understand the Kevin McAlister reference above, but the lineup is still getting up there to some extent. Jimmy Rollins (31) Placido Polanco (34), Utley (30) Ryan Howard (30) Jayson Werth (31 in May), and Raul Ibanez (38 in June) are the first six hitters in the order and all 30 or older. This was the best offense in the National League last season, but can all these guys play an average of 153 games like they did last season?

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #1 Second Baseman; ESPN.com: #7 Overall; Yahoo: #1 Second Baseman and #4 Overall; Mock Draft Central: #4 Overall; Couch Managers: #4 Overall; FB 365: #1 Second Baseman

Projection: Utley had a very impressive postseason, so factoring that into the equation gives him a nudge toward improvement for this season.
110 R 33 HR 105 RBI 24 SB .294 AVG .925 OPS

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3 Responses to Chase Utley Player Projection No. 4

  1. Anonymous says:

    Chase is #7 overall at ESPN.com not #7 second baseman^^

  2. Dave says:

    I would love to see Chase hit those projections. He should age like fine wine, given his defensive prowess and skill on the basepaths. Definitely not an "old player's" skill set.

  3. Schruender says:

    Definitely agree Dave. Out of all the guys on the Phillies who are in their 30s he's the one I'm least worried about age effecting performance with.

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