When the Philadelphia Phillies announced that Chase Utley would miss significant time in the 2012 regular season, Ruben Amaro Jr., the team’s general manager, made a bold but necessary decision.
Freddy Galvis was named the Phillies 2012 Opening Day starter at second base to replace the injured Utley.
Galvis, who is known for his defense, showed why he could be a major-league player by his performance in Spring Training, where he hit .280 (23 hits in 82 at-bats) with two home runs and 14 runs-batted-in. His stellar spring solidified manager Charlie Manuel‘s decision to pencil Galvis in for the Opening Day start.
The twenty-two-year old was successful in his first major-league season. In 58 games over the first two months of the season, he recorded a .226 batting average with three home runs, while driving in 24 runners.
As soon as the month of May came around, Galvis began to heat up. From May 9th until his last game on June 6th, according to Baseball Reference, Galvis hit .260 with two home runs and 14 runs batted in.
But Galvis’ season came to an abrupt end when he went down with a bone fracture in his back. On top of the injury, Galvis received a 50-game suspension from the MLB after testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs.
2012 was a tale of two different seasons for the Venezuela native.
This spring, Galvis is looking to make the Opening Day roster once again. But with a healthy Utley in the lineup, will there be a guaranteed spot for Galvis on the 25-man roster? Manuel believes that Galvis, as well as teammate Carlos Ruiz, will bounce back from their respective suspensions.
Manuel was quoted by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com on the topic of whether or not both players are motivated this spring:
“I think they want to show that they are good players and they can play real good. I think I know both of the guys and I think that I know they are going to play hard and they are going to try to prove to themselves and everyone else that they may have made a mistake, they plan on playing over it and becoming the type of player we think they are.“
Galvis has already shown improvements in his game, especially his approach at the plate. Through eight spring game this season, Galvis has an OPS of .810, which is higher than his spring total of last season, which was .771.
All signs point to Galvis making the Opening Day roster. With an aging infield, Manuel is going to need to rest players such as Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, and Utley. Galvis has shown that he can play the middle infield positions. A switch to third base during a game may be out of the question, but it should not be ruled out entirely.
If the Phillies are going to take a look at which players give them the best chance of winning, then the twenty-three-year old Galvis may be at the top of their list.
Expect to see Galvis in Phillies pinstripes throughout the 2013 season.