Chase Utley is back with the Dodgers and could join the unusual 2,000 H/200 HBP Club
Utley's primary goal will be helping the Dodgers get back to the Fall Classic for the second year in a row, but after reaching 1,000 career RBIs in 2017, he has some more personal milestones ahead of him. First and foremost, he is just 150 hits away from reaching No. 2,000, which is a plateau that has only been reached by 29 second basemen.
Having notched 202 hits since the start of 2016, Utley is a likely contender to become the 30th at some point in the next two years:
However, that's not all Utley has to offer. He has also demonstrated a particular penchant for being plunked:
Indeed, Utley's 199 hit-by-pitches rank eighth all time. The next one will be No. 200.
If Utley is able to reach 2,000 hits and 200 hit-by-pitches, he would be just the fourth player in MLB history to do so, joining the plunk-happy group of Don Baylor, Jason Kendall and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.
"I didn't stand on top of the plate, but I knew if guys came in, I was going to get hit," Biggio said in 2013 to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, reflecting on this unusual skill. "That's part of the game."
Utley seems to have taken Biggio's approach to heart -- no pain, no gain. As a result, an invitation to the 2,000/200 Club may be forthcoming.
Andrew Mearns is a writer for Cut4 whose baseball obsession was born from the shattered dreams of Mike Mussina's perfect game attempt in 2001. He has a startling memory of World Series highlights that barely functions as a party trick.