Like many of you, I was very confused when the Dodgers inked Chase Utley to a two-year contract this past offseason. I thought it was a ridiculous use of a roster spot as well as the $2 million it would cost the team. Sure that’s not a ton of money in the grand scheme of things, but it seemed like an odd bet on a guy who will be close to 41 when his contract is up. And just like every other time in his career, Chase Utley proved me wrong. He has quickly cemented himself as one of the more consistent offensive players in the Dodgers’ lineup.
Utley struggled in 2017 but always seemed to come through when he was needed most. Despite a lowly 236 batting average, Utley came through in clutch situations time and time again. His heart and hustle cannot be measured, but if it could he would rank near the top of all players. That commitment to his work ethic and leadership led to Utley playing in over 75% of the Dodgers’ regular-season games.
Chase Utley, the active leader in getting hit by pitches, is on the doorstep of a fitting milestone: H.B.P. No. 200. “That’s the best way to explain who he is.” https://t.co/qhC2uHu3JU
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) April 9, 2018
The start of the 2018 season has been what no fan expected. The Dodgers are losing games at an alarming rate, and Chase Utley is one of their best hitters at the moment. Utley will enter Tuesday night’s matchup batting 300 with a home run and a few runs batted in. Additionally, he is reaching base at a 391 mark and has struck out just five times compared to three walks. Utley has also managed to swipe two bases early on in the year.
With the numbers he is putting up early on, Utley has the second-best batting average on the team behind Yasmani Grandal. Grandal also leads the team in OBP putting Utley at a close second. He is also the team leader in stolen bases just nine games into the season.
Chase Utley’s Future
When Utley was signed to the deal, I was adamant that it was for his leadership skills within the clubhouse. There is not a soul on earth that expected him to rank near the top of this potentially high powered offense, but Chase Utley will never stop grinding. Pitch after pitch, inning by inning, he is 100 percent committed to the game of baseball. And that is why he has gotten so much playing time early on. Get ready to see the Silver Fox manning second base fairly often this year.
What a wild year it will be. Only 153 games left.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/is-this-pedro-baezs-last-chance-with-the-dodgers/2018/04/09/”]Is This Pedro Baez’s Last Chance With The Dodgers?[/button]