Sep 17, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second basemanChase Utley
(26) throws to first against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
1. Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
Even at age 36, Chase Utley still remains one of the best second baseman in the game. He has been part of a core that won a World Series in 2008 and made it to the Fall Classic the following year before losing to the Yankees.
Last season, Utley hit .270 with 11 home runs and 78 RBI’s in 155 games. The 155 games are the most he has played in any season since 2009 (156 games). The six-time All-Star was seventh among all second baseman in OPS last year (.746).
If you dissect Utley’s 2014 season, he had a great first half, hitting .293 with eight homers and 46 RBI’s. However, his average dropped to .235 after the All-Star break . Last season, he was fifth among all second baseman in walks with 53.
Defensively, Utley has made double digit errors at second base in four of his last five seasons, which includes the 11 he made a season ago. The question remain s whether or not the Phillies will eventually trade their franchise second baseman while in the midst of rebuilding mode themselves.
Over the past four seasons, Utley has had a WAR of three or higher. Last season, his WAR of 3.6 was tied for eighth among second baseman. This year, Fangraphs projects him at 3.1 for his WAR, which is the seventh highest at the second base position. Also, his batting average is projected at .258 with an on-base percentage of .330.
When you look at the second base landscape in the NL East, there are a lot of what ifs regarding the other four candidates. As for Utley, you kind of know what you are going to get from him even as he is in the latter stages of his career.
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