His manager compares him to a Phillies legend: Édouard Julien, the guy who catches more grounders than everyone else

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. | Among the good “fans” of Édouard Julien in Minnesota, there seems to be his manager. A former player himself, Rocco Baldelli compares his young protégé to one of his ex-teammates, Philadelphia Phillies legend Chase Utley.

Not that they were “identical,” says Baldelli, “but Utley worked hard, he was a good baseball player, extremely motivated, who knew what he wanted.”

The reflection was born from comments made by Julien earlier this year. Well aware that defense has long been the Achilles heel of his game, the Quebecer said he wants to improve to the point of one day winning the Golden Glove, awarded to the best defensive player in his position.

And although Baldelli doesn’t know how serious the second baseman was about it – “he likes to make jokes,” he mentions – he “loved” hearing him make such a statement.

“Originally, Chase Utley had a great bat, but he was not a player with good defense […]. Except that he worked, worked, worked, and he became an important defensive player for the Phillies for a long time,” compares the manager.

Photo AFP

Utley never won the Gold Glove, but he won four Silver Bats, appeared in six All-Star Games and won the World Series in 2009. As a comparison, there are worse.

“Many wouldn’t put that much effort into it.”

Sitting in a chair at his office, a few hours before the second game of the series against the Dodgers, Baldelli had more praise when asked about the Quebecer. On how he has seen it evolve over the past year.

His manager compares him to a Phillies legend: Édouard Julien, the guy who catches more grounders than everyone else

Photo Stephen Maturen / Getty Images via AFP

Baldelli especially talks about his “work ethic,” which he describes as “really good,” “beyond that of a lot of people.”

“More rollers than everyone”

And the young player will not contradict his coach on this subject. Julien agrees: he spends a lot of time on the field, in training.

Particularly because he is eternally dissatisfied.

“There are people who will get to this level and who will say that they are just satisfied with what they have,” he said. But for me, even if I can play well, or have good results, I will never have enough. I will always want more, do everything to be a better player.

Julien knew his defense needed to be improved. And to do this, he pays the price: “Every day, I do extra. I take rollers more than everyone else.”

“I know that the only way to be better is not to dream. It’s about working.”

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