Don’t Make Chase Angry

You wouldn’t like Chase when he’s angry.

From an ESPN chat with Jerry Crasnick:

Bob (Denver)

Is Chase Utley the ‘Derek Jeter’ of the NL? Albeit without the dating prowess…

Jerry Crasnick

Bob, There are a lot of similarities. They’re great baserunners and attentive to all the little things. And they don’t have to say a lot to get their point across. I was talking to a Phillies player last night who told me, “Guys in this clubhouse don’t want to mess up, because they don’t want to disappoint Chase.” That was amazing to hear.

Bob from Denver, kudos to you on the cleverness. Bob Denver. Ha!

Chase is like a mob boss. With his slicked-back hair, maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. The quoted Phillies player is likely reliever Chad Durbin, who said something similar in the last episode of The Pen on MLB Network.

Of course, Chase’s iron-fist rule is well-justified. Including this season, he’s been by far the Phillies’ most valuable player and has been in the top-five in Major League Baseball in that span. He’s the best second baseman in baseball, and he’s not even in the same ionosphere as his competitors. He’s more than a half-win more valuable than the next-best second baseman this season, the Rays’ Ben Zobrist (he’s also the most valuable player in Major League Baseball according to WAR). Last year, he was over 1.5 wins more valuable than second-place Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox; in 2007, he was nearly 3 wins more valuable than second-place Placido Polanco of the Tigers.

Sportswriters often preach about how not everything can be quantified in numbers, and often attribute a team’s success or failure largely to clubhouse chemistry. Knowing it’s impossible, I’m still incredibly interested in learning just how much Chase has helped the team when he’s not on the baseball field. Also, is Chase the only “leader” or is he the silent type and Jimmy Rollins is the vocal type — co-leaders?

At any rate, this blurb from Crasnick is yet another way to appreciate the genius of Chase Utley.

Chase Utley, you are the man!

BDD: Pedro Martinez Dazzles

At Baseball Daily Digest, I use Pitch F/X to illustrate just how brilliant Pedro was in his start last night against the Gigantes.

As you can see, eight of the nine strike threes came on a fastball of some kind (four-seam, two-seam, or cut). The first four strikeouts started with something off-speed. As the game progressed, Pedro relied more and more on his fastball: 14 of the 16 pitches thrown in the last three strikeouts were of the fastball variety, including 10 four-seamers.

More impressively, eight of the nine strike threes came on swing-and-misses. Aaron Rowand was the only one to get a backwards K.