"He might be the best defensive player in the minors right now that I know of, because he's about the only player I can think of who gets promoted because of his glove, and not his bat."
John Manuel, Baseball America - November 9, 2009
Galvis entered this year's Spring Training trying to win a job on the 25-man roster. With Wilson Valdez traded to the Reds, and Michael Martinez being Michael Martinez, he had a real shot to make the majors for the first time in his career. To see if he could handle the role of utility player, Amaro and the Phillies had Galvis playing second base exclusively. He played the position without missing a beat, leading the team to announce that Galvis had won the starting 2B job in place of the injured Utley. In a year, Galvis went from near non-prospect status to a full time starting role on a major league roster. It's both an indictment of the Phillies' health and a demonstration of the progress that Galvis has made.
So, what can we expect of Galvis in the 2012 season? ZIPS projects him to hit .261/.299/.359, and to have 19 SB and 10 CS, for an overall wOBA of .290. That seems a fair mid-point projection. Among all 2B with at least 150 PA, that would have had him just above Jose Altuve, and just behind Ryan Theriot. Not exactly prime company, but not terrible, either. With 2B, there are higher offensive standards than SS, though not by much, with a league average 2B hitting for a .307 wOBA, and a league average SS hitting for a .303 wOBA. It's fairly certain that Galvis will hit below league average as a second baseman, but not by too much.
With Galvis, however, the value is always going to come from his glove. Even adjusting to a new position, Galvis is likely to be among the best defensive players at 2B. Just how valuable is that? Well, if Galvis plays as well as say, the 5th best second baseman, UZR/150 (among all qualified 2B) would put him at about 13 runs saved/150 games. DRS, on the other hand, would put him at about 11 runs saved over a season. Now, assuming that Galvis gets about 300 PA or so, between starting at 2B and eventually shifting into a utility role, what exactly would his production be worth? Well, estimating his batting runs by comparing him with Altuve and Theriot, he'd accumulate -5.0 runs batting. He's an average baserunner, so he likely won't add or subtract runs in that category. His fielding will be worth around 6 runs or so in a half of a defensive season. Then, adding in the replacement adjustment for his level of playing time, he accumulates another 10 runs above replacement. Lastly, a positional adjustment of about 1 run is added in for playing 2B.
Totaling that up, if Galvis is a great defender at second and hits to his ZIPS projection, he'll be about 12 runs above replacement level. This puts Galvis at 1.3 fWAR. For 300 PA, that's pretty good. It'd establish him as an above average major league player in a full-season at 2B. At SS, he'd be even more valuable. Of course, Galvis could go out and hit .220/.260/.310 or something similarly poor, and it wouldn't be shocking. Skepticism from people like Sickels is warranted, as he's only hit well for one full season in his career. It's harder to be skeptical of his defense, but it's not guaranteed that he'll automatically become one of the best defensive second baseman in the league. Given time, he probably would be, but in his first few months he may only end up as an average defensive player. His floor is probably around replacement level for this season, and his ceiling is something like Omar Infante's offense (.305 wOBA), but with the best defense in the league at 2B, which would put him at around 4.0 fWAR for a full season. He won't replace Utley's production entirely, but he can certainly make up for some of it, especially if he hits close to league average. At the very least, he'll fill in much better than Valdez or Martinez did last year.
Freddy Galvis won't be a star, but he'll be a decently productive player, who excites with his defense and fares well enough with the bat. He could be an important piece for the Phillies if he succeeds, given his age. Now it's up to him to take his fate in his own hands and prove the team right for trusting him.
|2009||19||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A+-AA-Rk||PHI||86||365||341||41||82||9||2||2||20||7||5||13||54||.240||.272||.296||.568||101||7||2||8||1||0|
|2011||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-AAA||PHI||137||590||543||78||151||28||5||8||43||23||13||31||86||.278||.324||.392||.716||213||5||6||9||1||1|
|AA (3 seasons)||AA||258||1072||985||127||244||38||8||14||88||34||16||60||164||.248||.294||.345||.639||340||11||7||15||5||2|
|A (1 season)||A||127||523||458||59||109||12||1||3||42||14||7||39||58||.238||.300||.288||.588||132||11||4||16||6||0|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||7||30||29||6||8||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||4||.276||.300||.310||.610||9||3||0||0||0||0|
|A- (1 season)||A-||38||156||143||20||29||5||1||0||7||9||4||10||20||.203||.255||.252||.507||36||1||0||3||0||0|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||33||126||121||15||36||6||1||0||8||4||2||3||18||.298||.315||.364||.678||44||2||0||2||0||1|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||63||272||251||29||62||8||2||1||15||6||3||10||43||.247||.280||.307||.587||77||4||2||8||1||0|