Chase Utley hit 38 homers over the last three years, a period in which injuries have limited him to just 301 games. That’s a rate of almost exactly 19 homers per 150 games. The Utley of old was good for 30+ homers per 150 games, but the older Utley of recent memory is not the Utley of old.
The new, older Utley (confused yet?) has become a different, more patient hitter. His three best K:BB ratios have come in the last three years, and twice he’s had a perfect 1:1 ratio. In fact, Utley’s 0.95 K:BB ratio since the start of 2010 ranks 10th among the 351 batters to tally at least 600 total plate appearances over that span.
And last year Utley’s 21.4% line drive rate and great 1.00 K:BB ratio yielded an expected batting average of .304 with an expected BABIP of .321. Instead, he stumbled to a .256 average thanks to a .261 BABIP. I’m not ready to write Utley off yet, but 2013 will be his last chance to prove he’s worth ranking among the top 150.
At a Glance
Strengths: K, BB, OBP