Chase Utley's career numbers suggest that he's a better first-half hitter than second half.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Before you get in an uproar, I'm not suggesting the Philadelphia Phillies trade Chase Utley, only that perhaps fantasy owners should make the move.
Here's my reasoning.
Utley's career numbers suggest that he's a better first-half hitter than second half. Over his eight-year career, Utley has a first half OPS of .924 and a second half OPS which is 59 points lower (.865). The difference has been even more pronounced over the past two seasons. In 2008 he was 100 points better in the first half (.955 - .855) and last season the variance was a whopping 212 points (1.004 - .790).
Utley is struggling after a quick start to 2010 in which he hit six homers, knocked in 15 runs and had an OPS of .981 in April. Through the middle of June, Utley's numbers are 11 homers, 33 RBI and an OPS of .853. That's his worst first half OPS since he became a full-time starter in May of 2004.
There is also the remark from first base coach Davey Lopes which said "Chase has been hampered by a little bit of a knee injury." Though Utley vehemently denies the claim, there is likely something to it. It's hard to imagine a situation where Lopes would simply make it up. The "knee injury" might not be enough to keep Utley out of a game, but it might be slowing him down.
So here we have a player who, at the least, is suffering from aches and pains and is struggling at the plate.
Fantasy owners have to decide whether he will return to "Utley-like" form over the next three months, in which case they obviously keep him in their lineup, or "work the telephones" to see if they can make a trade while his "name" still carries maximum trade value.
Utley could still likely get you a solid second baseman and additional help in another area of need.
Do you pull the trigger on a deal?
That depends on two things. Do you think Utley will hit better? Is your lineup strong enough to wait until he does, or win it if he doesn't improve?
Chase Utley Career Statistics - pre-All-Star break