We could all see it. Virtually every day, we saw what Freddy Galvis was, and that was one of the best defensive shortstops in the game.
On Thursday, we received proof our eyes were not deceiving us.
It’s the second consecutive season Galvis has been a finalist for the Gold Glove. He’s joined once again by San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford (he was a finalist last year), with Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers the other finalist.
Among qualified NL shortstops, Galvis had the highest fielding percentage (.989), making a league-low seven errors. However, advanced metrics told a different story. His -5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) was 7th out of 8 qualified shortstops, and he ranked at the bottom in Range Runs (-4.2), which is the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, as determined by is ability to get to balls in his vicinity.
However, he was tops in Error Runs (the number of runs above or below average Galvis saved based on the number of errors he committed), 4th in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), and third in Fangraphs’ overall Def score, trailing his two other finalists, Crawford and Seager, in that final category.
He also made lots of plays like the one above.
Some of those plays show the obvious faults with current defensive metrics. It’s pretty clear Galvis has terrific range, which makes his DRS and Range Runs numbers ridiculous. Just last year, Galvis’ DRS was +5, as opposed to -5 this season, and his Range Runs was +9.1, as opposed to -4.2 this season. His dWAR also dropped from 1.3 to 0.3, yet he looked every bit as good in 2017 and he was in ‘16.
And it’s not as if the Phillies were shifting a bunch more this season, which could have negatively affected his range values. In 2017, they shifted the 5th-least of any MLB team, according to Fangraphs, compared to 2016 when they were the 3rd-least shifting team.
Galvis’ future with the Phillies is subject to much speculation, and it will only grow as the winter progresses. He will be a free agent after the season, and with J.P. Crawford ready to take the reins at shortstop, it’s possible the team could move him to another team this off-season. He hit .255/.309/.382 with 12 home runs and 61 RBIs, and was worth 1.3 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.
Galvis is the lone Phils’ finalist for a Gold Glove this season. Last year, Odubel Herrera was one of the final three center fielders up for the award, but this year, Billy Hamilton, Michael Taylor and Ender Inciarte are the finalists. He finished third among qualified NL center fielders in Fangraphs’ overall rating, and posted a DRS of +3, which was 5th among 11 qualified players.
And despite finishing third in Fangraphs’ overall defensive ratings among NL second basemen, Cesar Hernandez also was not a finalist. Instead, Ben Zobrist of the Cubs, who played a mere 81 games at 2B (65 starts), got the nod instead.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners will be announced on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, November 17th.