In his 13-year career, Chase Utley has always been known to be an above-average hitter with his short, compact stroke that allows him to drive the ball effectively to all fields. He’s won four Silver Slugger awards and has made six All-Star game appearances.
However, one of the more underrated aspects of Utley’s game has been his steady play defensively at second base, despite never winning a Gold Glove in his career. Utley and Jimmy Rollins contributed to a solid defense up the middle for the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the World Series in 2008.
Skepticism arose when the Dodgers opted to re-sign Utley to a one-year deal in the offseason, but the 37-year-old veteran has been efficient in the leadoff spot while playing a steady second base.
Utley’s defense was on display in Sunday’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning when closer Kenley Jansen induced a soft liner toward shortstop off the bat of Jose Bautista with a runner on first base.
The runner was off with the pitch, so Utley, who was shaded up the middle, broke to cover second base when the ball was hit. He picked up the ball off Bautista’s bat and made a bee-line toward it to lay out for an inning-ending diving catch: