Raising Questions

Is Freddy Galvis a franchise shortstop?

FreddyGalvisKsoe3IEQ8tNm.jpgFreddy Galvis made his major league debut with the Phillies in 2012 when he was 22 years old. Throughout his time in the minors and during his first year with the Phillies, we heard nothing but great things about Galvis’ glove. He was expected to be a perennial Gold Glove shortstop. And to that, he’s lived up to every bit of that hype. Galvis lost out to Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford for the 2016 Gold Glove in a decision that could’ve gone either way.

Galvis’ Achilles heel was and is his bat. In his first three years with the Phillies, albeit playing just a 171 combined games, he hit a dreadful .218 that included a .176 campaign in 2014. After Jimmy Rollins was traded in the 2014-15 offseason, the Phillies handed over the keys to Galvis.

Through the first two years of consistent playing time, Galvis has missed only 15 games. This season, his third full season, he’s played in every game and has made it known that it’s a goal of his to play in all 162 games. Galvis hit .263 with seven home runs and 50 RBI in 2015. Last season, everyone was surprised when Galvis blasted 20 home runs and drove in 67 runs. However, he had one of the worst OBPs in the league: .274. The 27-year-old drew 25 walks in 624 plate appearances and also struck out 136 times.

But this season Galvis has been there every game, and his numbers are on pace to match or improve upon last season. He’ll hit around 20 home runs and is on pace to drive in more than 70 runs. He’s eighth and 11th, respectively, among major league shortstops in homers and runs batted in. His OPS (.726) is up considerably from last season (.673). He’s already matched his walk total from all of last season (25) and has 67 games left. Just seven more doubles and he’ll eclipse his total from last season (26). There has been clear improvement offensively.

Galvis is also looked at as a consummate professional in the clubhouse. In an instance where he failed to run out an infield popup in mid-April and cost the team a run, Galvis took the blame right away. Galvis’ lack of hustle took everyone by surprise, even manager Pete Mackanin, but that seems as if that was the first and last time the six-year veteran shorted his effort.

Galvis then came unglued on June 26 after a 6-1 loss in Arizona. It was the team’s 42nd loss in 55 games. The longest-tenured Phillie was tired of losing and said “If you get used it, we’re (bleeped).” Galvis was the first guy to come across angry and demanded change. The Phils then went on to sweep Seattle in a two-game series, both wins in late, dramatic fashion. Andrew Knapp credited Galvis with lighting a fire under the team. Now the Phillies haven’t been world beaters since the tirade, but they sport a 10-11 record since, which is about what we expected from this team the entire year, not 30 games under .500. And to Galvis’ credit, he’s walked the walk, hitting .302 with a .339 OBP since June 21.

His on-field play can be judged, analyzed and critiqued all day and all night until we’re blue in the face. But what can’t be critiqued, and only praised, is his leadership. Plenty of players can lead a good team, because everything is going well and feathers don’t have to be ruffled. It’s those who lead through adversity who really stand out. Galvis has not only been there (literally in every game), but he has been the rock of the team, both on the field and in the clubhouse. That speaks volumes about Galvis’ character.

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