Last June was a month that Freddy Galvis would love to put out of his memory as fast as he possibly can. In just about a two-week span, Galvis suffered a season-ending back injury and found out that he had violated the MLB’s substance abuse policy, which of course came with a 50-game suspension.
Healthy and free to play baseball once more, Galvis has performed well in spring training, but he is on the bubble of the Philadelphia Phillies’ current roster.
His main competition would appear to be Yuniesky Betancourt, added by the Phillies on a minor-league deal in January. Those familiar with Betancourt know his story: low on-base percentage, mediocre defense, and somehow manages to fool teams every year into thinking he’s a decent addition.
He’s hit .379 this spring and may sneak his way onto the roster, but it would be denying Galvis the chance to be on a big league roster. Galvis has hit .283/.313/.500 this spring after hitting .226/.254/.363 in 2012.
Defensively, Galvis outshines Betancourt. He can also play three infield spots, while Betancourt struggles with one (shortstop). It is a near-certainty that Kevin Frandsen will make the roster, leaving one infield spot open.
While Galvis did not exactly crush the ball last year, he did have an 18-game stretch in May where he hit .314/.342/.529. Galvis isn’t going to make anybody believe he’s going to provide massive power throughout his career, but I think he’s a bit better than his numbers last year indicate.
Galvis is also just 23 years of age and has a lot of room to grow. Obviously, the PED suspension is concerning. It showed a lack of maturity on Galvis’ part, and the Phillies strongly rebuked him. He has to learn from that mistake and will move forward with his life.
He did get a lot of playing time with Chase Utley injured last year, which gave him a chance to be an everyday player for about two months.
Hopefully Galvis is on the roster come April, because Betancourt is simply not worthy of a Major League roster spot. Even though he won’t get everyday player type of playing time, I’d rather see Galvis mature in the Majors than be sent back down to the Minor Leagues.