Phillies legend gets first vote of confidence in Hall of Fame bid

Ballots have started to be unveiled as Chase Utley is attempting to lock in 75 percent of the vote.
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies / Hunter Martin/GettyImages
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Hall of Fame ballots are starting to trickle in, and former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has had some early success among voters. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, only four ballots have been released.

Utley secured his first vote from Adam Rubin, former New York Mets writer for ESPN, according to Ryan Thibodaux, who tracks ballots:

The second ballot, from an anonymous voter, left Utley off — but in all fairness, they only voted for two players overall in Joe Mauer and Adrián Beltré, so this shouldn't be seen as a sign of how others will vote.

David Skretta, writer for the Associated Press, turned in the third public ballot and voted for Utley, along with three others.

The fourth ballot, another anonymous voter, has Utley slotted in:

Utley, who is on the ballot for the first time, played from 2003 to 2018, a career spanning 16 seasons. He spent parts of 13 seasons with the Phillies before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2015 season.

The six-time All-Star slashed .275/.358/.465 for both teams, with 1,885 hits, 259 home runs, 1,025 RBI, and 154 stolen bases over 1,937 games.

And he came through in big moments. With runners in scoring position, he was a career .282 hitter, with that mark improving to .342 with someone on third and less than two outs. In high-leverage situations, according to Baseball Reference, he hit .281.

According to FanGraphs, his WAR of 61.6 for his career was fifth-best among all qualified batters in MLB for that same stretch of years. If you isolate that to just his full seasons with the Phillies (2003 to 2014), he had the third-best WAR (59.4), behind only Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.

Narrowing it even more, Utley had a five-year stretch from 2005 through 2009 when he was stellar, slashing .301/.388/.535 with 146 home runs, 507 RBI, 77 stolen bases, and a WAR of 38.4, behind only Pujols.

While he didn't have obviously impressive power numbers, the electric second baseman brought it all to the table, from stellar defense to impressive baserunning.

Among players with at least 100 stolen base attempts, Utley has the best success rate at 87.5 percent, only being caught 22 times throughout his whole career. And he knew how to get the most out of plays, taking the extra base 54 percent of the time. In the field, the infielder finished his career with 4,535 assists, a mark good enough for 38th at the position, and had a .982 fielding percentage.

The scrappy player also took one for the team, more than once. Utley is currently ninth among MLB players after being hit by a pitch 204 times during his career.

While injuries likely kept Utley from racking up a lot of counting stats toward the end of his career, there's no doubt the infielder was one of the main driving forces behind the Phillies' successful run of five straight playoff appearances between 2007 and 2011.

According to the Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor on Baseball Reference, the four-time Silver Slugger has a score of 94, putting him 15th out of 26 players and right on the cusp of whether or not he is projected to make the trip to Cooperstown.

When looking at Utley's JAWS metric of 56.9, he is right on par with the average second baseman in the Hall of Fame, with the WAR of his best seven seasons (49.3) ranking ninth for the position, according to Baseball Reference.

In order to be inducted on the first try, Utley will need to earn 75 percent of the votes. Ballots will continue to be released as we get closer to the Dec. 31 submission deadline, and the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees will officially be announced on Jan. 23.

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