Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Ways Chase Utley Will Transform the Team
He made his debut this season in late May and is just starting to get into an everyday role.
Despite his slow start, Utley still has had solid games this season and just needs enough time to get into a groove, especially after coming off an injury. I think Utley will spark soon, which will ignite the rest of the team.
Although he is not the same player he used to be, Utley still can impact and transform the team in many ways.
5. The Lineup
Now that Utley is back, the batting order has changed and the Phillies will be able to use Wilson Valdez in other places (pitcher?).
Unfortunately, just as Utley returns to bolster the lineup, Shane Victorino is heading to the DL.
Regardless, the batting order is much more complete now that Utley is back into his traditional three spot.
4. Veteran Leadership
Utley still is a veteran leader at heart. Even if his bat is not the strongest on the team, he can still be a clubhouse leader.
He has seen it all actually.
He has won and lost in the World Series, has been swept in the playoffs, has been to multiple All-Star games and is a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman.
The experience Utley brings to the table was missing, but now he is back to provide it again.
Utley is a great team player. His presence on the field alone is a motivating force for his teammates.
Utley's bat will be extremely effective this season, especially down the stretch as the Phillies head into the playoffs.
He certainly won't be the close to his near MVP form of a few years ago, but he can still hit the ball well and I think he will finish near a .300 batting average.
The Phillies' bats this season have been nothing but inconsistent, but I think Utley will help fight the cause and will eventually be a major factor in turning things around.
Utley may be aging, but his ability to field exceptionally well is still there, as he remains one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball.
His signature 6-4-3 double play can almost never be broken up by the runner because he is so good at avoiding the slide and getting the throw off to first.
Wilson Valdez has been a quality replacement for Utley, both offensively and defensively. Utley's return allows the Phillies to use Valdez in a utility role.
Utley is a man with great experience. The team just wasn't the same without him. His return has brought a surge in confidence to the team.
When one of your best and most experienced players goes down, the players are supposed to stay focused and not dwell on the loss, which is exactly what they did.
However, in the back of their minds they wanted Utley back, as did the fans.
Utley's value to the team is difficult to quantify. He provides the Phillies with a swagger that can't be replaced.
It is great that Utley is back and all he needs to do is find his groove and light the spark. But at the same time, Phillies fans must be patient since he is coming off a serious injury.
He should rebound quickly and make a tremendous impact for the rest of the season.
Ultimately, the fate of the Phillies depends on Utley's ability to find his old form and rally his teammates.