When Chase Utley rides off into the sunset and calls it a career, he'll stand in front of the pearly gates of baseball heaven and have quite the resume to show off. Above all of the noise and the numbers, he'll have one important thing to show: a World Series ring in 2008 as the undisputed heart and hustle leader of that red pinstriped bunch that will be remembered forever.
Beyond that title, though, and actually diving deep into the numbers, there's a lot to digest. This is Chase Utley by the numbers.
This was basically Utley at his best. From 2005-2009, Utley posted this line. And yet, it brought up another number: 0. Sadly, Utley never won an MVP trophy, even though his WAR was better than Ryan Howard in Howard's MVP year of 2006 and Jimmy Rollins' MVP year of 2007. Mike Trout, who won the MVP Award last year, had a WAR of 7.9 in 2014. Utley's career-high season in terms of WAR was 2008. It was 9.0. He finished 14th in MVP voting that season.
Chase Utley's WAR for those 2005-2009 seasons. There was only one player in baseball better than Utley, and that was Albert Pujols, who posted 44.4 WAR. If Utley did have to lose that MVP voting in 2008, at least it was to Pujols, who you could have made the case for and still be taken seriously. Those other guys? Nah.
This is where Utley clocks in when it comes to career bWAR, and this is where the Hall of Fame debate will begin. This is 109th on the list according to Baseball-Reference, and surely Utley could tack a bit on here over the next few years, depending on how long he wants to play. So who are some of the guys around him? Mark McGwire had a 62.0 bWAR. Andruw Jones came in at 62.8. Jackie Robinson was at 61.4. Mike Piazza, 59.4. For very recent comparison, Craig Biggio was inducted this summer with 65.1 bWAR. Yes, it's a very quick and easy stat to go on, but it does say a lot.
From 2009-2011, Utley was the best baserunner in baseball according to Bill James. The +77 stands for Baserunning Gain, which, according to James, is "the measure of how often a player advances to take the extra base, or is thrown out trying to do so, as compared with what would have been expected based on league averages." That's a bit of a mouthful, but it's pretty impressive. At this point, it was a bit past Utley's peak, but he still remained one of the smartest and most aggressive baserunners in the game as he got older. This stat also meant that I didn't care to do the research for the other years. (Sorry.) But yes, we all know Chase did the little things on the bases throughout his entire career.
Utley's career stolen base percentage is first all time for players with a minimum of 80 steal attempts. Utley has gone 142/160 in his career. He doesn't run a whole lot anymore, but there were plenty of times where Utley taking the extra base helped the Phillies win.
This one might not make a whole lot of sense of first. But when there was a logjam in the Phillies' infield and playing time was hard to come by, 41 stood by Utley. Yep, we're talking about Charlie. He trusted Utley. He wanted him to play. The Phillies found the room for him eventually and he played in 147 games in 2005. He probably wouldn't have been able to do that without Chuck backing him so strongly. The rest is history.
This is what Chase has made in his career, according to Baseball-Reference. Chase will by no means be remembered as a poorly paid player. But this one's probably going to make a few people at least a little bit angry, since Ryan Howard has made over $155 million in his career, and is scheduled to make a whole lot more. Jayson Werth will have made about $136 million in his life after his next two years kick in. There's a chance that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout sign $400 million deals at some point in their careers. Chase certainly took the hometown discount. More than once, in fact. There's something about that fact that just makes you warm and fuzzy inside.
The Phillies have only retired the numbers of five other men in team history. Whitey. Senator Bunning. Michael Jack. Lefty. Robin Roberts. There's no doubt that Chase will join those men some day. There's a good chance he might have some company, probably with the shortstop he's about to rejoin in Los Angeles. But we won't think about L.A. right now. Chase Utley, you were Philadelphia.
Times Chase got to say this. It was about three times too few. If this isn't in the top five moments of your life, you're not a Phillies fan. Chase Utley, you will always be... the man.