A Healthy Chase Utley Will Give Philadelphia A Playoff Berth

By David A. Cattai
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Leadership is a contagious quality for a player to have.

Chase Utley has been showing his leadership qualities just by his play on the field for the past ten seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 34 year old second baseman has been a mainstay in the Phillies lineup since he hit a grand slam in his first MLB at-bat in April of 2003.

As shown by his five All-Star game selections, four Silver Sluggers, and three top-10 finishes in MVP voting, Utley leads by example.

He has been a target for pitchers, due to his unbreakable character, which has resulted in 151 hit-by-pitches.

His improved defense and awareness while on the diamond has given the Phillies another veteran leader on the field to go along with Jimmy Rollins and others.

Utley has played through numerous injuries and has shown that he wants to be out on the field no matter what.

In 83 games played through the 2012 season, Utley hit .256, which was pretty low for his standards but hit 11 home runs and drove in 45 runners, which is comparable to his 2011 season, where he played 103 games for the Phillies.

2013 is the first time in a few years that Utley has been healthy for Spring Training. Through eight games this spring, Utley is hitting.253 with zero home runs and three runs-batted-in. He has taken five walks, which shows that his plate discipline is still strong, and has resulted in a .435 on-base percentage.

Fan Graphs is predicting Utley to hit .270 with 16 home runs and 73 runs-batted-in. If Utley can produce around those numbers, while staying healthy and leading by example, then the Phillies have a strong chance at competing in the tough NL East in 2013.

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.

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