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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chase Utley: More Tools Than the Home Depot... 


I love the Home Depot. I spend a few hours in there a week fixing up my house (the perils of owning a 105 year-old house). They have a terrific selection of nearly everything that you need to do work around the house, every tool, every item you could imagine.

Like many fans and bloggers, I also love Chase Utley for what he is doing for the Phillies. Chase Utley is a favorite with the fans and especially with bloggers because he is virtually the complete package. Bloggers and fans love him because he is probably the Phillies most important player. Pat Burrell? Great hitter, but he can be inconsistent and has some holes in his defense. Bobby Abreu? Great hitter, but lacks in the power department and is more of a defensive nightmare than Burrell. Ryan Howard? Promising hitter (still needs improvement) but so-so defensively. Aaron Rowand? Great defender, but a so-so hitter. David Bell? (Snort!) J.Roll? Too inconsistent at the plate: doesn’t draw enough walks.

Chase Utley is the complete five-tool player: he can run, throw, field, hit and hit with power.

Tool #1: Chase can run. It is difficult to get a really perfect sense of how well Chase Utley runs the bases, but according to the Bill James Handbook, he was able to take the extra base about 44% of the time when given the opportunity, a pretty darn good percentage, especially compared with teammates like Pat Burrell (31%) and Ryan Howard (34%). Utley is just as good as speedsters like Jimmy Rollins (51%) and Bobby Abreu (48%). Chase also successfully stole 16 of 19 bases in 2005, so he’s got speed on the base-paths. Oh, and he never made an out on the bases in 2005.

Tool #2: Chase can field. Defensively, Utley basically rates well according to John Dewan’s The Fielding Bible: Utley ranked second amongst MLB 2B’s Plus / Minus rating at +26 (i.e., he made twenty-six more positive plays than negative ones). He even beat out Placido Polanco, the Phillies old second baseman, who had an excellent reputation for being a good glove. Utley’s Relative Range Factor was 1.073, which means that he generally makes many more plays than expected.

Tool #3: Chase can (probably) throw. The problem with Chase’s play at second is that he’s struggling with turning the double play: according to The Fielding Bible Chase ranked 34th of 36 2B’s in turning the double play. He’s good, but he needs to improve. Personally, I think he's got the ability, but he just needs to make it happen.

Tool #4: Chase can hit. I think we all knew that going into the 2005 campaign, but it was a surprise what a consistent hitter Chase turned out to be: he hit for power but he also got on base and created runs. The 2005 Bill James Handbook projected ...

HR: 24
2b: 36
Runs Created: 90
ISO: .203
GPA: .270

Chase actually hit ...

HR: 28
2b: 39
Runs Created: 102
ISO: .249
GPA: .304

What was impressive about Chase's performance was that he turned himself into a patient hitter at the plate: he had a .110 walks-per-plate appearance percentage, over double his .052 percentage in 2004. Chase saw the number of pitches per plate appearance jump from 3.82 to 4.02. He's a consistent threat at the plate to get a hit.

Tool #5: Chase can hit with power. Last year Chase's had a .249 ISO (ISO: Slugging Percentage - Batting Average, which essentially measures how many extra-base hits he has), second on the team after Ryan Howard (.279). This year he's right on the money again at .245. Consistently Chase has power at the plate, a rare skill to see in a middle infielder.

Conclusion: Chase Utley is the complete player and the most important on the Phillies. Chase gets on base, hits for power, is involved in the Phillies middle defense turning double plays and scooping in grounders, stealing bases and advancing on the basepaths. Chase is the Phillies MVP.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Home Depot again...

Comments:
Chase is an all star unlike any second baseman the Phillies have had since the early '80s.
 
I was intrigued by the fact that The Fielding Bible had the Phils' as the best fielding team in MLB last year. They especially liked the Phils'infield-even "Dr. Strangeglove", Ryan Howard.

Good summary of Utley's performance last year. It's hard to see how there's a better 2B in the game today.
 
fantasy baseball informationAny one using the phrase "easy as taking candy from a baby, has never tried taking candy from a baby before.fantasy baseball information
 
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