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2017 Player Review: Freddy Galvis

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The longest tenured Phillie might not stick around for the good things to come, but his development was a big win for the organization

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Here is what Freddy Galvis has done at the bat in each of his 11 seasons playing professional baseball.

The story in the aggregate is of a guy who grew into his body and improved his skills to the point where he’s been considerably more productive in the big leagues (.245/.287/.372) than in the minors (.246/.291/.334). He’s also been remarkably durable over the last three seasons, playing in 471 of a possible 486 games. A switch-hitter, Galvis has posted roughly the same batting average from both sides of the plate, but with a much higher walk rate and power production as a lefty.

While I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it called out as such, Galvis represents a pretty impressive player development success for the Phillies. From a teenage defensive prodigy who didn’t look like he’d ever hit enough to hold a big league roster spot—and then saw his first season in the majors marred by a PED suspension and a serious back injury—Galvis has emerged into a highly valuable regular, offering roughly league average offensive production on top of outstanding defense and clubhouse leadership on a very young team.

The longest-tenured Phillie by a considerable stretch, Galvis links the departed Howard/Utley/Rollins core with the hopefully emerging foundation of the next competitive Phillies team. The question is whether he’ll be around when things really get fun again.

He’s probably ceded his starting shortstop position to longtime top prospect J.P. Crawford, who held his own in a September call-up. The former first round pick isn’t quite Galvis’s equal in the field—he’s solidly above average where Freddy is often spectacular—but his .356 on-base percentage in 87 plate appearances, while hitting .214 no less, was far better than the career-best .309 mark Galvis posted this season.

The idea of seeing Crawford regularly get on base ahead of Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams likely will be irresistible to new manager Gabe Kapler. But if he wants to keep Galvis’s glove in the lineup, there are other options. Galvis has 89 career games at second base, 27 more at third. The keystone is currently manned by his childhood friend Cesar Hernandez and likely soon to be claimed by top prospect Scott Kingery. At third, the Phillies are likely to give disappointing but talented Maikel Franco one more year to fulfill his potential, and if he doesn’t pan out (maybe even if he does), to pursue a veteran star there next winter.

The scenario for Galvis spending his last season before free agency with the Phillies is probably something like: Hernandez gets traded this winter, the Phils decide to delay promoting Kingery until May or June to secure an extra year of control, and Kapler wants Freddy’s versatility, reliable glove and clubhouse presence. Galvis starts the season as the everyday second baseman, then assumes a super-utility/defensive sub role if and when Kingery joins the team.

It’s much tougher to see how Galvis suits up for the Phils in 2019 or beyond. He’d be a pretty valuable bench player as the club shifts into full-on contention, and it sounds like he’d prefer to stick around, but that preference likely doesn’t extend to taking millions fewer dollars per year for a lesser role when he’s pretty clearly among the 20 or so best shortstops in the game.

Timing always matters. If Galvis were just reaching the majors with the Phillies now, he’d probably have four or five years of value as a glove-first utility man, and the chance to be a part of some exciting teams. Instead, he’s very likely coming to the end of his time with the club just as they’re getting interesting. On the other hand, the couple thousand extra at-bats he’s gotten these last couple years should yield him millions of additional dollars in his next contract. That’s not the worst thing.