phillypressbox

Phillies Profile – Chase Utley

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 10 we preview Chase Utley.

Chase UtleyChase is a former Phillies 1st round draft pick in 2000 out of UCLA. Utley made his big league debut on April 4, 2003 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He became the full time 2nd baseman in 2005. Since that time, Chase has had a 203 hit season, scored over 100 runs 4 times, driven in over 100 runs 4 times, hit over 30 home runs 3 times, led the league in hit by pitches 3 times, won 4 Silver Slugger Awards for 2nd basemen and made 5 All Star teams. His career batting average is .290 with 188 Home Runs and 694 RBI’s. Chase has also contributed 10 career post season home runs and 25 RBI’s.

Chase is a key part of the middle of the Phillies line up. The 3rd spot in the lineup is critical to protecting Ryan Howard or Hunter Pence in the 4th spot. Utley’s injuries over the last several seasons have directly affected Howards output as well. Howard hasn’t seen the quality pitches he was seeing. Part of the reason for that is Utley hasn’t been on base as much or been the feared hitter he has been in the past. The injuries have limited Chase’s games to 115 and 103 the last two seasons. Many of those games were played at less than 100%.

Personal Analysis:

The Phils need Utley to raise his game closer to the pre-injury plagued seasons of 2010 and 2011. Chase is absolutely critical to the success of the Phillies by getting on base and driving in runs. Utley’s numbers have declined drastically over the last few years. His average has dropped from .332, .292, .282, .275 to .259 in 2011. His home run numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44.Chase has been given a pass because he has been injured and because he was such an integral part to the 2008 World Series Champions and to the return to the World Series in 2009. As of this writing, Chase is yet to play in a Spring Training game due to a knee problem. There seems to be no set time table on his return. There has even been some discussion that Utley could start the season on the DL along with Howard. That would be a big blow to the Phillies to start the season. Utley continues to say he will be ready to play soon and will be ready for opening day, however, Charlie Manuel doesn’t seem convinced: “His problem is not going away. More than likely it maybe never goes away. We want him to be at a real good percentage of playing. Will he ever be 100 percent? I don’t know about that. He might never be that.” We’re going to stay on the positive side with Utley’s health. We feel that Manuel will rest Chase on a regular basis, especially on day games after night games. We’re going to predict 130 games at 2nd base, a .290 batting average with 20-25 home runs and 90 RBI’s. The one thing that will be constant with Chase Utley is that if he goes on the field he will be giving 100%, whether he’s 100% healthy or not. The big question for the Phillies in 2012 is will that be good enough?

Tomorrow we will preview Jimmy Rollins.

The series: Day 1, Charlie Manuel. Day 2, The Coaching Staff. Day 3, Roy Halladay. Day 4, Cliff Lee. Day 5, Cole Hamels. Day 6, Vance Worley. Day 7, Joe Blanton. Day 8, Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz. Day 9, Ryan Howard.

Philly Pressbox would like to welcome our Sponsor, Shop.com. www.Shop.com/BobSullivan .

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