Philadelphia Phillies: Freddy Galvis Creates Nice Problem


The Philadelphia Phillies have infield choices to make next season. Freddy Galvis’ 2016 efforts have created a nice problem.

Depending upon prospect J.P. Crawford‘s perceived progress, the Philadelphia Phillies might begin next season with Freddy Galvis at shortstop. Then again, the then sixth-year major leaguer might be moved to second base or have already been traded in the offseason. But whatever calculated guess general manager Matt Klentak makes, Galvis’ 2016 performance will have created nice options.

As a result of this year’s power surge, Galvis became the second shortstop in team history to hit 20 or more home runs in a season. He joined icon Jimmy Rollins on that elite, two-man, list. ‘J-Roll’ hit the mark four times. During his illustrious Phillies career, Rollins hit 25 home runs in 2006, 30 in 2007 when he won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, 21 in 2009 and 23 in 2012.

Granny Hamner was a shortstop for Philadelphia from 1944 through 1959, which included the famed ‘Whiz Kids’ years. He’s arguably the third-best shortstop in Phillies history behind Rollins and Larry Bowa, the team’s current bench coach. Hamner did hit 21 home runs in 1953. But he actually played more games at second base than at shortstop that year. So his 20-plus home run total can’t be included in the team’s all-time rankings. Hardcore ‘Bo’ fans know that he hit 13 total home runs during the 12 years that he played in Philadelphia. Bowa’s highest seasonal home run total was four in 1977.

It’s worth noting that Galvis currently leads the Phillies in strikeouts (126) through 148 games played this season. Last year he struck out 103 times in 151 games. Odubel Herrera ranks second in strikeouts (122) but has a .790 OPS. Herrera’s combined production percentage falls below Tommy Joseph‘s team-leading .820 OPS. However, like Galvis, Herrera has appeared in 148 games this season. Joseph hasn’t been a full-time starter at first base since making his major league debut on May 13.

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Galvis’ .677 OPS ranks last among Phillies starting position players. But, he has generated 67 RBI, which ranks second behind Maikel Franco‘s team-leading total of 77 RBI. Galvis ranks third with 59 runs scored. Cesar Hernandez‘s 60 runs scored total ranks second. Herrera leads the team with 81 runs scored.

So, with various points considered, Galvis has obviously been one of the better Phillies offensive players in 2016. Whether he can sustain that output next season, if he remains at shortstop, or for how long, are questions to consider.

Defensively, among all major league shortstops who have played more than 100 games in 2016, Galvis’ fielding percentage (.988) ranks third and his Range Factor (3.98) ranks thirteenth. Last season’s defensive efforts at shortstop, which included 17 errors and a .973 fielding percentage, are outliers when looking at Galvis’ career glove work. He was likely affected by the pressure of having become a regular for the first time in his career due to Rollins’ departure via a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, after having served in a utility role.

Modern players, and apparently hitting coaches, are accepting of more whiffs in today’s age. However, uneven offense results when far too many players swing and miss too often. And, without delving too deeply into the sabermetrician’s bag tricks, it is common sense that batters on winning teams both know and control the strike zone as they march toward the playoffs.

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So Galvis’ home run stick will need to be balanced by a better plate approach moving forward. If he makes overall offensive progress and wears a good glove, the Phillies, or another team, should find a spot for him to play on a regular basis.