The shortstop position has been evolving right before our very eyes recently. In 2015, only one shortstop in the entire league reached 20 home runs – the Giants’ Brandon Crawford with 21. Even former Phils great Jimmy Rollins was in the top five with 13.
This season, however, has seen much more power from the position. A total of 11 shortstops have belted more than 20 home runs. Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has cracked that list with 20 homers of his own. With this being Galvis’ second full season in the majors, most have written him off for next year, handing the reigns over to 2013 top draft pick J.P. Crawford. Believe me, I’m all in for the young talents in the minors to come up. But in this case, Galvis has earned the right to start next season at short.
Galvis finished the 2016 season sporting a .242 average with 20 home runs and 67 RBI. Could the average use some work? Absolutely. However, Galvis’ numbers since the All Star break are more than respectable, boosting his chances to start for the Phillies in April in Cincinnati. Galvis tallied a .251 average since the all-star break. Is it great? No, but certainly respectable.
What you’ll read next has Galvis ranked among the top of the league in shortstops since the break.
- Home runs: 12 – 2nd in NL ahead, of standouts such as the Dodgers’ Corey Seager and Cubs’ Addison Russell
- RBIs: 31 – 4th in NL, ahead of Seager and Crawford
- Stolen bases: 10 – 3rd in NL
- SLG: .439 – 4th in NL, ahead of Russell
- OPS: .728 – 6th in NL – the OPS is significant given Galvis’s poor on-base percentage. Galvis was still able to land himself in the middle-of-the-pack of (12 qualified) with a .289 OBP.
- XBH: 25 – 5th in NL
Those numbers tell you that Galvis was a top-tier shortstop the second half of the season.
The one stat that stood out to me was the RBI production. Despite the Phillies having the second-worst OBP in the National League at .301, Galvis still somehow knocked in 31 runs. It must be noted that Galvis hit lower in the order, so he had more opportunities to drive in runs than Seager, who hit primarily in the two-hole for the Dodgers. I included Crawford in there too, because he typically bats around the five-six-seven range for Bruce Bochy’s club.
Given the Phillies OBP, it means something that Galvis was able to plate more runs than Crawford, who as a team are fourth in the NL in OBP at .329. And, by the way, Crawford just inked a six-year, $75 million deal before the season, while Galvis is still on his rookie contract.
Can the 26-year old Venezuelan be the long-term option for the Phillies at shortstop? It still remains to be seen. He has earned one more full season. If he is able to work on his plate discipline by drawing more walks, the average and OBP will see a boost in production and we will see even more extra base hits out of him.
As for Crawford, his underwhelming play in the minors (.244 AVG), coupled by the play of Galvis, and even Cesar Hernandez, will likely keep the first-round pick in the minors to start the year. And if Galvis can blossom next season and really show his potential, the Phillies can have a good problem on their hands.
With Crawford not ready, there is nothing wrong with letting Galvis play at shortstop. One thing we know for sure about Freddy: His glove at short is about as gold as you can get.