Skeptics Say: He's always hurt and on the field hasn't shown much aside from the steals lately. The last two seasons, Utley has missed 47 and 59 games. His batting average over that time has dropped 28 points off of what his career average had been until the past two seasons. This season he will turn 33, so it is impossible to ignore the drop-off as bad luck or to call Utley too consistent to turn down.
Peer Comparison: Even with the decline in the numbers, on a 162-game average, the last two seasons Utley has averaged 96 runs 21 home runs, 81 RBI, 21 steals, and a .267 average. Those numbers are better in three out of five categories than Brandon Phillips was last year. Phillips finished the season as a top 40 overall fantasy player. Utley is a top 40 caliber player if he can stay on the field. The question is, will he? All of the sites in what they're saying are at least hedging their bets. He is not ranked higher than 56 anywhere, but interestingly the experts at Mock Draft Central are pulling the trigger at pick number 55 on average. He will be a veteran worth watching in spring training, but right now we have to go by who he was at the end of 2011. And while he wasn't great down the stretch, he did hit .438 against the Cardinals in the playoffs and was on the field to begin with.
Lineup Outlook: The Phillies are old. That will hurt them in some way, shape, or form.
What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #6 Second Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft at ESPN.com: #7 Second Baseman & #75 Overall; Yahoo: #8 Second Baseman & #63 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #6 Second Baseman & #55 Overall; RotoChamp: #150 Overall
Projection: Utley had a career low strikeout rate, BABIP, and line drive rate last year. It was all too strange. Why won't everthing just go back to normal if he can play to start the season?
91 R 20 HR 87 RBI 17 SB .285 AVG .360 OBP .850 OPS
I didn't see that Manuel quote thanks for the input Justin. I think that definitely sheds an interesting light on the situation. When push comes to shove in a draft, I think him being 75th at ESPN is a great deal. I wouldn't expect him to miss the DL this season, but when he is in the lineup he's certainly top seven at a relatively (compared to shortstop) top-heavy position.
Charlie Manuel said he does not think Utley will ever be 100% again, so I feel like these are generous projections for someone in an older line up, he himself is starting to age, and he has never really been able to recover from his injuries. I do not see him being all that valuable this year.