Three years later, it's Freddy's turn.
When the Phillies re-signed Jimmy Rollins to a three-year contract with a vesting fourth-year option ahead of the 2012 season, it was decided the Phils would continue on with J-Roll as the franchise shortstop rather than give the job to a raw minor leaguer named Freddy Galvis, or to another veteran on a one-year deal, with Galvis waiting in the wings.
It turned out to be a very good decision. Even though the Phillies never made the playoffs during Rollins' last three seasons with the team, he played very well during that time, more than earning every penny of his $33 million deal.
In the meantime, Galvis waited. He served as a utility player for the Phils and spent large portions of the last three seasons in the minors as well.
But after Rollins was traded to the Dodgers in the off-season, the position became Galvis'. And although it seems like he's been around forever, Freddy is still just 25 years old, and is doing everything he can in this young season to help the Phils move on from the greatest shortstop the team has ever known.
Galvis went 1-for-3 with a walk, driving in the Phillies' lone run in their 4-1 loss to the Nationals in Washington on Sunday. And along with center fielder Odubel Herrera and third baseman Cody Asche, Galvis has been one of the few pleasant surprises so far this season.
Galvis is tied for the team lead in hits with 14 in 44 at-bats, good for a .318 batting average. But even more impressive is his .388 on-base percentage, thanks to four walks against only four strikeouts. His six RBIs are second on the team, and he's also provided solid defense once again this season.
Last year, Galvis had what was easily the worst season of his professional career, enduring a vicious 2-for-42 start that got him demoted in early May. While Freddy has never been confused with being a superstar, he certainly wasn't as bad as his 2014 season indicated.
What has made the difference for him so far in 2015 is his plate discpline. Last year he struck out in a mind-boggling 23.4% of his PAs, way too many for a contact hitter that doesn't hit a lot of homers. For his career he's averaged an 18.2% K-rate, which is pretty reflective of his major and minor league career.
This year, his strikeout rate is only 8.9%. And his 6.7% walk rate is higher than his career average of 5.2%.
Galvis is also hitting the ball hard more often this season, sporting a line drive rate of 26.5%, and he's not hitting as many fly ball outs, with just a 35.3% fly ball percentage, lowest of his career. He has been aided by a .351 BABIP so far this season, but players with speed who hit line drives and keep the ball on the ground tend to have a higher BABIP anyway.
As a result, Freddy has been moved up to the No. 2 spot in the order, where he and Herrera have formed a nice little 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup. If the Phillies had better meat in the middle of the order, the team would certainly be scoring a lot more runs.
We're still a long way from the narrative of this season playing out. It's entirely possible Galvis will slump at some point and the bloom will be off the rose.
But here's one final note, and I know this isn't fair.
So far, Freddy is doin' alright.