Jimmy Rollins has walked his last off for the Phillies, leaving us with a season of Freddy Galvis to contemplate. Freddy is not Jimmy Rollins. He's not even old, late career Jimmy Rollins. But he is a Phillies and Jimmy Rollins, that traitor, is with the Dodgers now.
Sometimes Freddy Galvis frustrates me to death. Other times? He gives me sparkly dreams:
What might we expect from a season of Freddy Galvis? First of all, he is substantially cheaper than a Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies are also not committed to Galvis for a long contract. Hey! He's not Ryan Howard! That's something, right?
Galvis just turned 25 years in November, and he is presumably on the right side of Ye Olde Aging Curve, but not in the area where he is likely to improve substantially. I would ordinarily think that the cake, as they say, is likely baked, but with Galvis that may not be the case given how much he has bounced from role to role.
Freddy Galvis is capable of some Neon Pegasus (or Space Unicorn) stuff like this and this. He has occasional pop and he can be an asset defensively at shortstop. He is going to pale in comparison to the greatest shortstop in Phillies history, but he may not be objectively terrible this year relative to the new normal of MLB shortstops. This is not 2007, folks - offense is dead *everywhere* (and especially in Philadelphia). Look at this list. Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons is 12th on the list with 2.3 fWAR from 2014 and with a wRC+ of 71. Zack Cosart was 17th with an fWAR of 1.2 and a wRC+ of 56.
Steamer and ZiPS have Galvis at 0.1 and 1.0 fWAR, respectively for 2015. The differences appear to be based on BABIP and slugging, mostly. Otherwise (walk rate and K rate), they are pretty consistent. Both have him playing in 100 games. I think that will be closer to 150, and his numbers should be adjusted based on playing time. If ZiPs turns out to be right and if Galvis gets more playing time than the roughly 100 games and 400 plate appearances projected, he could come up with 1.5 fWAR, which would have been 16th on the shortstop leaderboard for 2014. I would not be totally shocked if Galvis hit 2.0, but I could see him coming in at 0.0. I think 1.2 is a reasonable expectation, though.
Galvis has been all over the field, with the Phillies plugging him into holes for which he has been totally unsuited (left field?). He should be in the infield, and I am guessing that he will do better with consistent play at short. I have no real scientific basis for that -- just my personal experience at being better at what I do when I am asked to do one thing and not many.
When I looked at the splits for Galvis, a couple of things jumped out at me. Remember that awesome walk off (linked above) where Galvis and Kratz won the game for the Phillies after Cliff Lee was picked off of first base? What did you notice about Galvis and that home run? That's right -- he hit it right-handed and he hit it at home.
All players tend to do better at home, unless they are victimized by a freakish home park. Galvis does a *lot* better at CBP than elsewhere. His career WRC+ at home is 99. On the road, it is 44. Galvis also does marked better as a right-handed batter than he does hitting as a lefty.
How meaningful is this? Not very. It seems like Galvis has been around for a long time, but he only has 550 plate appearances under his belt - 250 at home and 300 on the road. My dream of using Galvis as the home and right-handed portion of a four way platoon at shortstop is probably premature,but I wouldn't ignore the problems he has hitting as a lefty.
If I am the Phillies, I might look for days on the road to sit Galvis against tough RHP to limit the damage from hitting batting lefty. Otherwise I keep him in because I think his defense will be a positive way for Galvis to contribute throughout the season.
On a final note, the comparisons that Galvis gets to Steve Jeltz are unfair to Galvis. Galvis is a better player at 25 than Jeltz was and Galvis will ultimately have a better career. I mean, I liked Steve Jeltz (who didn't?) but he was the fringiest of fringe. No matter your position on this important Phillies issue (Galvis or Jeltz? Who is better?) the final destination for Freddy Galvis is as an infield reserve. The reality of JP Crawford requires this.
Having a buffer between Rollins and Crawford in the form of a marginally serviceable major league player may ultimately be a good thing, too. I'd like some time to pass between Crawford and Rollins to remind fans what marginal shortstop play looks like day-in and day-out. In addition to pushing Crawford's arbitration date down the road instead of burning it on a season to nowhere, it may also mean that Joe Fan might be more satisfied with what they see from a young Crawford. Besides, having a (by then) seasoned player like Galvis available on the bench will not be a bad thing - it will be an asset.
My best guess for Galvis this year is that he plays 150 games and gets 600 plate appearances. His BABIP will be .255 (in 2014 it was .198, so there is some reason for optimism there) and he will have a 6.0% walk rate and a 19% strikeout rate. He will slug .370. I'm hoping for 12 homers from Freddy. This is clearly not the recipe for an offensive powerhouse player, but he'll hold down the fort till Crawford arrives.
The 2015 Phillies will have many problems, but the dropoff in performance from Galvis to Rollins will not be the one we harp on every game. We'll have much bigger fish to fry in the outfield, at the infield corners, and in back end of the starting rotation. So there you have it: "Freddy Galvis: Not as Big a Problem as 7 Other Starting Positions on the 2015 Phillies." Gonna be a long year, and Lord knows this team needs some dimples to get through it.
And because you can never have enough Parry Gripp, here's a Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway.