Galvis Gets His Shot, But Is He Ready?
Funny, it would seem to be a momentous occasion.
Because when the Phillies traded Rollins to the Dodgers in December for Minor League pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle, Galvis became the organization’s first everyday shortstop other than Rollins since Desi Relaford in 2000. It is a role Rollins held from 2001-14, when he became the greatest shortstop in franchise history and surpassed Mike Schmidt to become the franchise’s hits leader.
No pressure, Freddy.
“Jimmy was Jimmy,” Galvis said. “Jimmy was the man here in Philadelphia. But you have to come here and play baseball. I have to do my game. I don’t have to do Jimmy’s game. I have to do Freddy Galvis’ game and play ball.”
But what kind of game can Galvis bring?
He is fine defensive shortstop, so the pitchers should appreciate him. Ryne Sandberg loves his energy and praises his instincts. But a good glove, enthusiasm and instincts cannot help a hitter at the plate. Galvis has hit a combined .218 with a .621 OPS in 550 plate appearances with the Phillies from 2012-14. He has hit a combined .253 with a .646 OPS in eight Minor League seasons.
Galvis, 25, just hit .250 with 12 doubles, one triple, one home run, 18 RBIs and a .652 OPS in 51 games in Winter Ball in Venezuela.
The Phillies probably would take similar production from Galvis in 2015.
They might even take the numbers he put up in 2013, when he hit .234 with five doubles, four triples, six home runs, 19 RBIs and a .668 OPS in 222 plate appearances.
“I always believe I can do more,” Galvis said. “You never know. You never know how good you can be. You just have to keep working hard, keep doing your thing.”
Galvis is not expected to be the Phillies’ long term solution at shortstop. J.P. Crawford not only is the top prospect in the organization, but MLB.com considers him the 21st best prospect in baseball. Many scouts around baseball believe he could be something special. But Crawford, 20, is at least a year away from making his big-league debut.
In the meantime, Galvis will have the opportunity to prove he can bring more than his glove and guile to the field.
They hope he can. The Phillies are incredibly thin at shortstop behind Galvis. A short-term, in-game replacement could be Cesar Hernandez. If something would happen to Galvis long term – he has suffered back and collarbone injuries the past three seasons with a PED suspension and staph infection in his knee thrown in – Non-Roster Invitees Andres Blanco and Chase d’Arnaud could play there regularly.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said they will evaluate their depth at shortstop throughout camp and could find help elsewhere, if necessary.
“I don’t think I have to fill anybody’s shoes,” Galvis said. “I just have to do my game. Jimmy had a different game. He was a speedy guy. Jimmy was good. He was a good player. He was a good guy to me. He was like a father to me. He always taught me how to play the game, how to be ready for the game, so I always listened to him.
“I feel ready for the opportunity. I was waiting for it. I didn’t know if, at some point, it could come.”