Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Utley's absence would be felt by Phillies
By Justin Havens
If Chase Utley does indeed miss significant time, just how much will the Philadelphia Phillies miss him?
Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which looks at how many wins a player contributes to his team above and beyond a replacement-level talent, suggests Utley's absence could be severe.
Over the last four years, Utley has been worth anywhere from four to eight wins more valuable than his likely replacement, Wilson Valdez.
For reference, the Phillies last season won the National League East by six games.
Although the Phillies last season averaged 4.7 runs per game whether or not Utley was in the lineup (he missed 43 games last season with a thumb injury), there’s no replacing his productivity.
In the games that Utley did not play last season, Phillies second basemen hit just .253, scored 18 runs and 15 RBI, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
And, since 2005, no second baseman has more home runs (162), extra-base hits (403) or RBI (572) than Utley.
Defensively, Utley’s absence would be felt just as much as his offense. Last season he ranked second only to Orlando Hudson in defensive runs saved at +14. Since 2005, Utley ranks first -- by a wide margin -- among second basemen in defensive runs saved at +108. Mark Ellis is second at +73.