Top Five Chase Utley Moments

Chase Utley turned 35 years old today. Having recently signed a new contract extension with the Phillies, he’s looking forward to the 2014 season, which will be his 12th in the big leagues. He didn’t miss a significant amount of time due to injury, racking up more than 475 plate appearances for the first time since 2010. Utley was the team’s most productive player in 2013 by many measures. Not surprising.

Rather than look forward, I’d like to look back on Utley’s career. Inspired by this thread on /r/Phillies, let’s go over the top-five moments of his career.

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The Future is Unwritten: Andrew Knapp

The Phillies 2013 draft has acclaimed by many (including yours truly) as one rich with upside laden talent. JP Crawford, Cord Sandberg and Jan Hernandez are all dripping with athleticism and the potential for an explosive Major League tool or two if the Phillies player development squad can turn the dreams of all that raw talent into a reality. Lost among the forest of those teenage redwood saplings is Andrew Knapp, Philadelphia’s second round pick in that draft. The Cal (Berkley) catcher is already 22 years old, the cement on the body is mostly dry and there really isn’t really a chance for a plus tool here. Despite that, there is an interesting combination of athleticism and skills that could make Knapp an everyday catcher if things break right. Continue reading…

What Will Darin Ruf Become?

Darin Ruf finished third on the Phillies with 14 home runs, and he did that in just 293 trips to the plate. The two ahead of him, Domonic Brown and Chase Utley, compiled 540 to hit 27 and 531 to hit 18, respectively. John Mayberry (11 in 384) was the only other right-handed Phillie to reach double-digits. Many, including yours truly, expected Ruf to struggle as pitchers exploited his weaknesses — enough to become a non-factor. As we look forward to 2014, we must ask: can the Phillies count on Ruf?

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