Wednesday February 29th, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern):
5. Chase Utley: Utley, thought of as the hands-down best second baseman just a few years ago, makes this list after coming off an injury that caused him to have arguably the worst season of his career. Chase has seen a downward trend offensively since 2009, and his history of downplaying and withholding information about injuries to get more playing time and avoid the DL has in fact hurt his play. Though an amazing show of his dedication to the game, Utley’s willingness to play hurt has limited his hitting, as evidenced by his total 109 RBIs over the last two seasons. Coming into 2012, though, Chase seems 100 percent healthy, and may bring some of his 30 plus-home run power back with him. Add this to the fact that his all-star caliber fielding hasn’t shown any decline, and Utley stacks up as a great player.
4. Brandon Phillips: Speaking of defense, how about the two-time defending NL Gold Glove winner, Brandon Phillips? A complete monster in the field, Phillips committed just six errors in 2011, boosting his fielding percentage to a great .992%. But the Gold Glove was not the only hardware Phillips brought home last year: his .300 average and 82 RBIs helped him win the NL Silver Slugger at second base. The biggest part of Phillips’ game may be his consistency, as he is the only player to have at least a .260 average, 15 home runs and 10 steals in each of the last six seasons. When looking at Brandon, it is pretty much assured that he will bring contact, gold-glove fielding and a bit of power and speed to the Reds in 2012. Read the rest of this entry