Freddy Galvis to see an expanded role in 2013



The release of utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt from the Philadelphia Phillies attracted little attention around baseball yesterday. But in Philadelphia, it's a big deal.

Betancourt's release ensures Freddy Galvis has a spot on the 25-man opening day roster.

While Galvis is coming off of not just a 50-game PED suspension, but a back injury as well, he is a critical component moving forward if the Phillies hope to compete with the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.

Known more for his defensive capabilities, Galvis is a major question mark at the plate. In 200 plate appearances last season, Galvis struggled mightily hitting just .226 with 3 HR, 24 RBI and zero stolen bases. But that won't stop Phillies' skipper Charlie Manuel from finding opportunities for the young Venezuelan.

According to Todd Zolecki of, Manuel is looking to find 200-250 at-bat's in a utility role for Galvis. If this is the case, Phillies fans can expect to see a heavy dose of Galvis during the expanded interleague games. It is reasonable to expect third baseman Michael Young take on the role of designated hitter when available, which would automatically slide Galvis into the hot corner.

Naturally, Kevin Frandsen is an option at third as well. However, Frandsen does not have the same caliber-glove Galvis has. In a small sample size last season, Frandsen reached base much more often than Galvis did. However, Galvis is much more valuable defensively as metrics show a more than five point difference favoring Galvis in fielding runs above average according to UZR.

This could all be a moot point if Galvis begins the year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But all signs point to Galvis staying with the big league club to start the year. A nod of approval from the skipper bodes well for Galvis too.

For Galvis to succeed in a utility role where he is seeing up to 250 plate appearances, he will need to improve on his dreadful walk percentage (BB%). This will require more patience at the plate for Galvis. His strikeout percentage (K%) is solid and though he will never harbor much pop in his bat, adjusting to pitching and finding the gaps in the defense will give him an opportunity to be an everyday starter in 2014.

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