Phillies: What are Chase Utley’s chances for the Hall of Fame?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 18: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs to first base on a single in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on August 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 8-5. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 18: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs to first base on a single in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on August 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 8-5. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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With Chase Utley’s career officially in the books, what are the chances the longtime Phillies second baseman makes it to the Hall of Fame?

Chase Utley’s 16-year career came to an end Sunday night as the Dodgers lost to the Red Sox in the World Series. The longtime Phillies second baseman was putting work in all the way to the end, taking ground ball and batting practice before Game Five even though he wasn’t even on the playoff roster.

Now that his career is complete, we can take a full look at Utley’s Hall of Fame chances. He won’t be eligible for induction until 2024, but it’s never too early to start.

Over 16 seasons, Utley played in 1937 games, recorded 7863 plate appearances, knocked 1885 hits, 411 doubles, 58 triples, 259 home runs, drove in 1025 runs, scored 1103 runs, stole 154 bases in 176 chances, and had a career .275/.358/.465 line and 117 OPS+. He was an All-Star six times, received MVP votes in five seasons, and won four Silver Slugger awards.

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Among all second basemen in MLB history, Utley ranks eighth in home runs, 13th in OPS, 19th in runs batted in, and 24th in wRC+.

During his prime, Utley was arguably the best second baseman in baseball. From 2005 to 2011, he had 47.8 Fangraphs wins above replacement. The next-highest player, Dustin Pedroia, had 24.7. During this time, Utley also ranks first in OPS (.896) and wRC+ (134), second in home runs (173) and runs batted in (616), third in hits (1095), sixth in stolen bases (104), and seventh in batting average (.293).

Utley performed well in two World Series berths with the Phillies. He hit two home runs and drove in four runs in 2008.

Utley’s best playoff performance came in the 2009 World Series when he tied Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in a World Series with six. Even though his team lost, there was still talk of naming him the series MVP anyway.

Utley also ranks well in JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score system). Utley has a JAWS of 57.3, just above the average Hall of Fame second baseman. He ranks ahead of Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Roberto Alomar, and Craig Biggio. Utley’s 49.3 seven-year peak WAR is also considerably above the average Hall of Fame second baseman and ninth out of all second basemen.

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Where Utley starts to fall behind is his counting stats. 2000 hits are generally considered the threshold for a Hall of Famer, and Utley fell short of that. Injuries played into that as Utley missed a significant number of games from 2010 to 2012. He also struggled in his final seasons, hitting just .233 with a .682 OPS from 2015 to 2018.

Utley will also be derided for his playstyle by some.

He is now infamous for breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg with a takeout slide in the 2015 NLDS. While the play was legal at the time, the incident forced a rule change to outlaw that kind of slide moving forward. It also incited a fanbase that already disliked Utley beforehand.

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Utley is by no means a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he should remain on the ballot for several years. Younger fans and writers who give more credence to WAR will favor him, while others who prefer counting stats and longevity may leave him off the list. Personally, I think he will make it eventually, either in the later years of his eligibility or via the veteran’s committee.