2012 Phungo #26 Chase Utley
Last week we did this exercise to determine what White Sox fans should expect from Kevin Youkilis based off of his present age (33) and his comparables in Baseball-ref.com. While reasearching the prospects for Youk and his future it occurred to me that Chase Utley is actually a little older then Youkilis and returning from injury. What should Philllies fans expect from Utley. Right now it appears that Babe Ruth in his prime would not be able to help the Phillies who have had a miserable week - but for now we will deal with Mr Utley.
For Utley I dealt with nine of his top 10 age 32 comps as provided by Baseball-Reference. The Omitted player was Al Rosen who retired after his age 32 season due to injures - which is a bit ominous when talking about Utley. The remaining 9 had pretty decent post age-32 careers which is a good sign. Jeff Kent is Utley's #1 comp - which I rate a plus. In my opinion at this point, the best career arc that Utley could reach would be Jeff Kent numbers. Jim Edmonds also had a pretty good post 32 career among Utley Comps. Utley also has 1940s era Hall of Famer Joe Gordon among his Comps.
Chase Utley Comparables at age 32
|Chase Utley||Notes||Age 33 Season||Age 33 PA||age 33 HR||age 33 OBP||Age of Last Game|
|1||Jeff Kent||180+ Homers after age 32 season, 3 time all-star, 3 silver slugger, 4 Post season appearances after age 32.||2001||696||22||0.369||40|
|2||Joe Gordon||batted .236 with 19 HRs in final season All-Star at 33 and 34. Hall of Famer||1948||633||32||0.371||35|
|3||Bret Boone||Gold Glove ages 33-35, 24+ HR 33-35, Batted .221 7 HR at age 36||2002||675||24||0.339||36|
|4||Carlos Guillen||20 HR in 3 seasons after 32. batted .273 at age 34 in 2010 (253 AB)||2009||322||11||0.339||35|
|5||Vinny Castilla||Led League in RBI at 36 ( for Colorado in 2004)||2001||581||25||0.308||38|
|6||Al Rosen||Retired due to injuries||na||32|
|7||JD Drew||active in 2011, 50 HR at 33+, BA of .279, .255, .222 at 33, 34, 35.||2009||539||24||0.392||35|
|8||Todd Walker||3 Homers after age 32, 194 PAs||2006||504||9||0.356||34|
|9||Jim Edmonds||SS at 34 (.301 w/ 42 HR in 2004), 5x 19+ HR,||2003||531||39||0.385||40|
|10||Carlos Baerga||Hit .343 in 231 AB age 34. - .247 aftwards||2002||194||2||0.316||36|
I was mostly concerned with what Utley could do for the 2012 Phillies so I have included the Plate appearances, HRs and OBP for each of his comps during their age 33 season.
I did a little math and found out that this group would have hit 12 Homers in 300 plate appearances - which is what I see Utley getting if he stays on the field. The OBP for the group is roughly .365 - which is 12 points below Utley's average. Those are both encouaging numbers, I don't know if they are good enough to help the Phillies make up a dozen games in the standing, but it does point to Utley being able to make significant contributions. The OBP for the other Phillies second basemen this season is .272, If Utley reaches at a .365 clip that would help even without the power.
The not so encouraging
The numbers for 7 of the 9 players above are for full seasons. I would think that most of them were not coming off injuries as is Utley. Also perhaps more importantly five of the seasons are from the offensive laden early oughts 2001-2003. In addition 3 of the remaining 4 seasons are 2006 thu 2009 which were a bit less productive for MLB but still on the higher end.