The sample size may be small but the immediate impression of Freddy Galvis has been big.
And not the good type of big either.
Galvis sure may be a slick fielder and that has been his biggest attracting point during Spring Training that allowed Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel to put all their eggs in his basket but he’s lacking in the one department that the Phillies need him the most.
The bat is not so slick. In fact, Galvis has only one hit, a two-run double in the Phillies 6-2 loss to Miami on Monday, through the first four games (13 at bats). That is a huge problem for a Phillies team that’s hitting .198 and has scored eight runs in 37 innings through the first four games.
Galvis was originally slated as a short stop prospect, the heir to Jimmy Rollins’ throne. But his reign at short was prolonged when Rollins signed the three-year deal he did in the off season.
Maybe the Phillies knew something. Maybe they knew that they couldn’t let Rollins go with the health of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard up in the air, leaving even more pressure on Galvis, who hadn’t played a Major League game prior to this season.
In fact, Galvis has been rushed through the system the past couple of years, though he’s held his own quite nicely in the one aspect of his game that was a question mark: offense.
In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 201o, Galvis hit .203, .238, .240, and .233 between Single and Double-A ball. It wasn’t until last season when Galvis hit .273 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in the first 104 games of the season with Double-A Reading that Galvis was called up to Triple-A Lehigh.
In Lehigh, Galvis hit .298 in 33 games to close out the season, hardly a large sample size for him warranting a call-up to the big league club in the following season.
Yes, Galvis hit .280 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in the Spring, giving Amaro and Manuel the “reassurance” that Galvis could handle the job but they forgot one thing.
No one but Galvis knows what’s going on in his head but he is apparently overwhelmed by a number of things: the expert pitching, playing in a Major League park and playing for one of the most eccentric and knowing fanbases in all of sports – a fanbase that knows more about the player than the player does about himself at times.
Will Galvis ever be Major League ready is all going to fall on when he adjusts and how well he does it. The two-run double was a huge positive for Galvis in the 7th inning on Monday, an indication that he not only is a decent hitter but does have some pop.
Galvis’ glove has yet to disappoint, though he is also still showing signs of adjustment at second base.
Playing on the right side of the infield is a lot different than the left, a lot more than one thinks. Second base has different responsibilities on certain plays than a short stop, especially on the bunt.
There was an instance of that on Monday as well that combined the in experience at second base for Galvis as well as first base for John Mayberry Jr, who plays a majority of his innings in left field.
Emilio Bonafacio led off the 6th inning with a bunt to the left side of the infield. Both Mayberry and pitcher Cole Hamels charged, leaving first base wide open. Galvis didn’t react immediately, breaking to first late.
Hamels threw the ball to first with no one on the bag and Bonafacio made it all the way around to third, setting up yet another Marlins run.
It’s little things like that which Galvis needs to work on and become comfortable doing. Playing short stop his entire career then switching to second base was not going to be an easy task. But that one play aside, defense has been the least of his problems, just another example of him in the process of adjusting.
As it was said, the sample size is certainly small. And as Galvis has shown the last two seasons, he will improve. It’s all a matter of when.
And when Galvis does, the fanbase will be waiting with open arms to welcome their new budding star.