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Top 25 Phillies of All-Time: No. 6, Chase Utley

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Perhaps one of the most beloved Philly professional athletes of all-time, Chase Utley was a core member of the successful Phillies teams between 2007 and 2011. Utley was picked 15th overall in the 2000 Major League Baseball draft by the Phillies out of the University of California. He made a mark early on in his career, blasting a grand slam for his first major league hit against the Colorado Rockies on April 24, 2003.

From there, Utley established himself as one of the best second baseman in baseball. His 35-game hitting streak in 2006 was the second longest in franchise history and tied Luis Castillo for the longest hitting streak by a second baseman. Utley represented the Phillies in the All-Star Game six times (2006-2010, 2014), and ranked in the top 15 of National League MVP voting in five consecutive years (2005-2009). In 2009, he was named as the second baseman on Sports Illustrated's MLB All-Decade Team.

Utley was dubbed “The Man” by Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas. On August 9, 2006 versus the Atlanta Braves, Utley was on second base following a bases-clearing double to left-center field. Utley scored from second on a chopper back to the pitcher by Ryan Howard to extend the Phillies' lead. That kind of aggressive, heads-up play would define Utley as a player, as well as endear him to Phillies fans.


Career accomplishments

  • Six-time National League All-Star
  • Four-time Silver Slugger Award Winner
  • Over 1,600 hits
  • Sixth in Phillies franchise history in home runs
  • Seventh in Phillies franchise history in RBIs
  • Fifth in Phillies history in doubles
  • Seventh in Phillies history in extra-base hits
  • Sixth in Phillies history in runs scored
  • All-time Phillies franchise leader in being hit by pitches
  • Hit five home runs during the 2009 World Series 
  • 2008 World Series Champion

Most memorable moment

While there are plenty of options for Utley's top moment with the Phillies, his heads up play in Game 5 of the 2008 World Series tops them all.

The Tampa Bay Rays had a runner on second with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, and a hit would give them the lead. Utley fielded a grounder up the middle, faked a throw to first, and then threw the runner out at home for the final out. If he hadn't made this play, the Phillies may not have won that game, or the World Series. This was Utley at his finest.

 


Reasoning for ranking

In his 13 seasons with the Phillies, Utley had 11 seasons with a WAR of two or greater. In six of those seasons, he had a WAR greater than five, and in two of those seasons, his WAR was greater than eight. Utley also ranks in the top 10 in Phillies history in hits, doubles, home runs, and RBI. These factors largely contribute to his overall score of 57 on the scale, which will be explained further at the bottom of this post.


Previous entries to the countdown


Formula Explanation

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. These statistics only reflect the player's Phillies career.

First, single season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to WAR's calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level.

We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively.

For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned (9) points for WAR.

Second, we assigned a point value for amount of years spent with the Phillies. In order to be considered for this list, a player must have been with the organization for a minimum of (5) years.

Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25 in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters, and ERA, Wins, and WPA (wins probability added) for pitchers.

Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly of Sports Talk Philly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.

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