Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Chase Utley's 2012 on-base percentage was 89 points higher than his replacements. How does Chase Utley do it? For the second straight year in 2012, chronic knee pain kept him out for much of the first half of the season. But just like 2011, once Utley returned, he was good to go every day. Utley returned in the Phillies 77th game, homered in his very first at-bat and proceeded to play 83 of the remaining 86 games, including 71 of the final 72. He played at a high level, too. Utley hit .256, his lowest batting average since his rookie season, but had as many walks (43) as strikeouts. The result was a .365 on-base percentage. More impressive was the return of his power. Utley hit 11 homers to equal his 2011 total, but he did it in 92 fewer plate appearances. Utley was obviously a huge upgrade over his first-half replacements. Freddy Galvis, Michael Martinez, Mike Fontenot and Pete Orr combined for a .670 OPS. Utley was at .793. Utley’s OBP was 89 points higher. Among second basemen with at least 350 plate appearances, Utley led the NL in OBP. The only 2B in the league with a higher slugging percentage was Aaron Hill. Defensively, Utley saved eight runs in 720.1 innings. Only second basemen Darwin Barney, Robinson Cano and Jamey Carroll saved runs at a higher rate. On the basepaths, Utley was 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts to boost his career success rate to 89.6 percent, the highest in major-league history. Utley is fielding grounders regularly this offseason and will try different methods to be better prepared for the start of next season. Based on how effective he was in the second half last year, there is a semblance of hope that he can re-capture the offensive magic he had from 2005-09 And even if he can’t, Utley has proven that the watered-down, 33-year-old version of himself is still one of the top second basemen in all of baseball. GRADE: A-
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Phillies GM: Asking price for Cole Hamels has not dropped

Could Ohio State really use all three quarterbacks?

Report: Florida CB arrested following armed robbery

Celtics looking to make LeBron's life difficult in playoff series

WATCH: Luke Rockhold chokes out Lyoto Machida

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Masai Ujiri fires up Raptors fans with expletive

Andre Johnson: Signing with Colts not about revenge

Pete Rose joining FOX as baseball analyst

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce around time of relapse

Isaiah Thomas once peed himself to avoid subbing out

Report: ESPN employees want Britt McHenry fired

Scout compares Mookie Betts to Deion Sanders

WATCH: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tells his corner to stop fight

Mets pitcher Alex Torres wears massive protective hat

Report: Todd Gurley's knee checks out well in evaluation

WATCH: All 286 3-pointers Steph Curry made this season

WATCH: Devan Dubnyk makes great save while leaving net

Sabres GM not happy about losing draft lottery

Yordano Ventura ejected for plunking Brett Lawrie

Five early takeaways from the 2015 MLB season

WATCH: Cubs fan catches foul ball in beer cup, chugs it

WATCH: Cardale Jones throws ball 74 yards during contest

Shaka Smart was quite popular at the Texas spring game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Alex Torres wears protective hat

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from wife

Report: McHenry's coworkers want her fired

WATCH: Raptors fans taunt Paul Pierce

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase preview

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

The "worst" player on each NBA playoff team

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.