It's been a rough early going, but there are a few bright spots so far: Cliff Lee, and among position players, Michael Young, John Mayberry Jr, and Chase Utley. And the Phils' best hitter so far, Freddy Galvis.
Galvis had his first start in Left Field last night and had another good game at the plate, going 2 for 5 with a double. He is now hitting .350/.435/.550 so far (.985 OPS, 170 wRC+), helped along by a .353 BABIP. Only 23 PAs, so obviously a ridiculously small sample.
Up until two years ago, Galvis had exhibited dazzling fielding skills, but the idea that he would even hit enough to make it onto a major league roster, let alone hit this well, would have been hard to believe. In his first four years in pro ball, Galvis had managed a measly .233/.281/.294 line (.575 OPS).
But in 2011 he had a breakout season and showed some promise with the bat. He spent most of the year in AA before a late season promotion to Lehigh Valley, putting together a combined .278/.324/.392 year (.716 OPS).
So was 2011 a fluke, or did something click that year, indicating that he may someday be a useful major league hitter?
Since that 2011 breakout, he has hit...
.249/.308/.333 (.641 OPS) in the 2011 Venezuelan Winter League (205 PAs) -- not very encouraging
.280/.295/.476 (.771 OPS) during 2012 Spring Training (88 PAs) -- better, but it's only spring training with all the attendant issues: small sample, and a mix of major and minor league pitchers, many of whom are mostly concerned with their mechanics.
.226/.254/.363 (.617 OPS) with the Phils in 2012 (200 PAs), before injuring his back, and later being suspended for PEDs.
.300/.351/.432 (.783 OPS) in the 2012 VWL (254 PAs) -- granted, the VWL is said to be only at roughly AAA level, but encouraging nonetheless.
.263/.280/.513 (.793 OPS) in 2013 spring training (83 PAs).
Each of these data points has issues with it, whether it be the level of competition, or the sample size, or both.
But when they're viewed in aggregate they form a picture of a player who, while he may not walk much or have much power, is still only 23 and has a chance to be a useful major league hitter at some point in the near future.
2007-10, A- to AA (1589 PAs)): .233/.281/.294 (.575)
2011, AA and AAA (590 PAs): .278/.324/.392 (.716)
2012-13, NL/ST/VWL (853 PAs): .265/.307/.409 (.716)
Here are the MLB stats for Galvis (starting his age 23 season), with another player's stats through age 24:
A (431 PAs): .247/.296/.399, wRC+ 76, BB 6.0%, ISO .152
B (223 PAs): .238/.273/.381, wRC+ 75, BB 4.0%, ISO .141
Player B is Galvis. Player A is the Phillies' current starting third baseman.
Could we be looking at some version of Michael Young's bat, but with far better defense? Who knows -- a lot depends on how Galvis continues to develop, and certainly not every 23/24 year old improves like MY has. But there is certainly hope.