clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Freddy Galvis is the most valuable shortstop in baseball

New, 100 comments

Hey, the numbers don't lie. OK, maybe they do... a little.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I'm just going to lay this out there, and you can do with it what you want.

Freddy Galvis, right now, on May 14, is the best shortstop in baseball.

Is this the diabolical rant of a homer off his meds? No. Am I related to Freddy in some way, some distant branch on the weirdest family tree in the world? I don't think so.

No, I am simply using math, as calculated by the analytics website Fangraphs, which tallies up the data without bias or prejudice.

Name Team PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Freddy Galvis Phillies 126 1 11 9 2 .336 .384 .397 .349 119 1.4
Zack Cozart Reds 117 5 17 16 3 .321 .362 .547 .390 145 1.3
Brandon Crawford Giants 124 5 15 17 1 .264 .371 .481 .367 137 1.2
Andrelton Simmons Braves 145 3 25 16 0 .271 .331 .436 .337 112 1.2
Marcus Semien Athletics 151 6 20 15 6 .307 .353 .521 .379 147 1.1
Adeiny Hechavarria Marlins 137 2 19 19 1 .308 .336 .423 .329 105 1.1
Alcides Escobar Royals 116 1 14 11 2 .305 .345 .419 .336 114 1.0
Jhonny Peralta Cardinals 140 4 16 16 1 .297 .343 .461 .347 119 0.8
Asdrubal Cabrera Rays 135 1 11 10 0 .214 .267 .325 .263 70 0.7
Brad Miller Mariners 109 2 7 11 3 .250 .318 .427 .325 110 0.6

That's right, Freddy Galvis, the man who replaced team icon Jimmy Rollins, is atop the fWAR leaderboard for shortstops in all of baseball. And his 1.4 fWAR is 9th best among all position players in the National League.

*NOTE, after the game, Galvis' fWAR improved to 1.7. Wow.*

And that was BEFORE going 3-for-3 in Thursday's 4-2 win over the Pirates, with two runs scored and another walk, raising his slash line to an incomprehensible .353/.403/.412 and an OPS of .815.

After Thursday's game, Freddy is 3rd in all of baseball in batting average, trailing only Miami's Dee Gordon and the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez, and his .815 OPS is better than players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Buster Posey, and Troy Tulowitzki.

Galvis' transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. While his walk rate has remained below league average at 6.3% (same as last year), his strikeout rate has been drastically slashed, just 10.3%, down from 23.4% last season. The other notable areas of improvement are in his line drive rate, a staggering 24.0%, up from just 8.0% in 2014. He's hitting the ball on the ground at about the same rate (43.0% this year compared to 41.4% last year), but so many of his fly balls have become line drives, with a fly ball rate down from 50.6% last year to just 33.0% this year.

That has helped his BABIP, which is a very high .373. However, that's not unusual for a player who is hitting a lot of line drives and ground balls and fewer fly ball outs. USA Today's Howard Megdal had an excellent piece today, detailing how Galvis has changed his approach.

The alteration came after Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson came to Galvis with a way to recognize and drive pitches more effectively. And Galvis was finally ready to listen, after a 2014 in which his slash line was just .176/.227/.319. Even in winter ball, where many players figure things out, Galvis hit just .250/.320/.332 with Aguilas de Zulia of Venezuela.

"They went to me, and they told me, we want you to hit the ball on the ground, line drives and grounders," Galvis said prior to Tuesday night's game against the Pirates. "And that's what we started doing. I'm getting my foot down early, and that's allowing me to see it better and hit it on the ground."

Perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising, considering he is still just 25 years old, that Galvis could make such an adjustment. And it's fair to be cautiously optimistic, considering he's never hit like this before.

But Freddy has always been a superb defender, and even a .270-.280 batting average would have made him a valuable Major League player. But with this kind of offense, he's been, quite frankly, a star.

Now, is Freddy Galvis REALLY the best shortstop in baseball? No, he isn't, even though the numbers are making it look that way right now. But Galvis IS having an All-Star season, and is making people forget all about Jimmy Rollins, who by the way is hitting .172/.255/.295 in 137 PAs for the Dodgers at this point.

Whatever is happening, it's been a pleasant development in a season that hasn't seen many of them.