For Phillies, Utley is no guarantee
May, 10, 2012
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesThe Phillies need a healthy Chase Utley, but there's no guarantee that's what they're getting.The Philadelphia Phillies have been terrible so far, winning just 14 of 32 games despite facing what appeared to be the National League's easiest schedule in the first quarter of the season.
The expectation, however, is that help is on the way soon, that Chase Utley will return and bolster the struggling Phillies, and Ryan Howard will follow him back into the lineup later this season.
But how much of a difference will the injury-plagued Utley, at 33 years old, actually make?
Last season, Utley played in 103 games, and he was much less of an offensive force than he had been in the past, hitting .259 with 11 homers in 398 at-bats. His on-base percentage was .344, or 43 points lower than in 2010 and 66 points lower than in 2011, when Utley was the preeminent second baseman in the game.
Utley treats his medical information like military secrets -- which is his prerogative - so there's really no telling if he's feeling better or worse than last year. When Utley comes back, he will supplant rookie Freddy Galvis, who is a spectacular defensive player but who struggles at the plate.
If you assume Utley's offensive production would be close to what it was last year, this is what the Phillies have lost, according to Justin Havens of ESPN Research:
- Galvis' WAR (wins above replacement) is currently minus-0.1. He's receiving a significant amount of credit for his D, but his offensive production is bad.