Philadelphia Phillies starting shortstop Freddy Galvis may secure a spot on the roster through next season while carrying a Gold Glove onto the field.
The Philadelphia Phillies organization is making progress in its building program. Signs of marked improvement include two members of the starting eight being nominated for Gold Glove awards. Along with Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis could win top National League defensive honors at his position. That potential designation might not secure his spot at shortstop, but it could keep him on the 25-man roster at least through next season.
Numbers are worshiped by sabermetricians. People who believe that the human world is most accurately described through objective categories often rely on statistics. As with any clique, hierarchies exist within this emerged pack. Some deem themselves kings and queens of all calculations. They also choose to associate with others who share the same ideology and perceived heightened minds.
Meanwhile, back on the field, the actual players, managers and coaches actually know who’s better than whom. Wise front office personnel attempt to bridge the gap between the actual assets of their company and an incorporation of statistics that make common sense. With those factors, among others, in-play balanced views of past performances and future projections are shaped.
Galvis was known as a glove man throughout his minor league ascension. He was never seen as someone who would push Jimmy Rollins off his post during the waning years of his great Phillies career. But Galvis’ versatile utility play and ever-slick hands naturally made him the temporary full-time replacement after ‘J-Roll’ was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2014.
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Last season was believed to be the intermediary period where Galvis would provide steady defense, while continuing to carry his inconsistent bat to the plate. The soon-to-be 27-year-old destroyed his personal high mark in 2016 by lifting 13 more balls over major league fences than he had in previous campaigns. The 20 home runs he hit ranked sixth among all starting NL shortstops and tied for ninth among all MLB shortstops. However, Galvis’ .673 OPS wasn’t impressive when compared to other peers in either league.
J.P. Crawford was the Phillies’ first round pick (16th overall) in the 2013 amateur draft. He remains on track to become Philadelphia’s starting shortstop sometime in 2017. Galvis could switch to second base if that eventuality plays out. San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford or Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell could capture the NL’s Gold Glove Award. But even if either player beats out Galvis, his profile has been raised purely by being selected as a finalist for this distinction. So, at the very least, his potential trade value has increased through last season’s stellar defensive efforts and his power display.
The Phillies will have a choice to make if current starting second baseman Cesar Hernandez is retained this offseason and then maintains his offensive consistency in 2017. But he continued to demonstrate a lack of in-game smarts last season, has never worn Galvis’ glove and hasn’t yet exhibited the leadership qualities that his double-play partner possesses.
So general manager Matt Klentak will continue looking beyond pure numbers as he decides what is best for the Phillies’ middle-infield moving forward.