On a team with one of the oldest everyday rosters in MLB history, Spring Training will not only be a place for the elders to prove that they still have it but also for the young cohort of Philadelphia Phillies to prove that they can be a part of the team’s future. Players like Cody Asche, Darin Ruf and Jake Diekman seem primed to make their presences known in Clearwater, but one player that deserves special attention is Freddy Galvis.
Making his debut in 2012 when it was discovered that Chase Utley would miss time with an injury, Galvis quickly demonstrated why he was simultaneously one of the team’s top prospects while at the same time not a permanent fixture in the Phillies’ future thinking. Known for his defense, Galvis shined in the majors with his glove to ooo’s and ahh’s from the crowd. A natural shortstop, he stepped seamlessly into second base and didn’t miss a step sporting a .996 fielding percentage. His bat, however, left much to be desired with a .226/.254/.363 slash line.
Last season saw Galvis given more responsibility and more of a leash, and he rewarded the team with improved production. Galvis became an all-purpose reserve fielding all positions except catcher and first base. More importantly to his future, his bat came alive as he popped a respectable six homers in only 205 at-bats. Extrapolated over an entire season’s worth of ABs, his small frame would have hit almost 18 home runs! All three of his slash numbers improved, and he became clutch in moments he never thought imaginable.
Disaster struck when he was suspended for 50 games for trace amounts of Clostebol, a PED.
If Jimmy Rollins‘ option does not vest following this season, it becomes a team option and he may be thrust into free agency at the ripe age of 35. Having already been a baseball analyst for Fox Sports this off-season and during the 2013 MLB Playoffs, Rollins may begin to transition into his next career as the team may be finally looking to replace him. Galvis has long been the player thought of to fill that role, despite the prospects of top pick J.P. Crawford, and this spring is his chance to stake his claim to the position and become the front-runner to replace the long-standing face of the team.
There are a lot of questions heading into this season, but one thing that we know for sure is that injuries will ravage the team just as they have the past two seasons. It has already begun with Cole Hamels. Once injuries make their way around the infield as they most certainly will, Galvis will become one of the more important players on a team that thinks it can still contend. In order to prove his worth, Freddy will have to earn his playing time this spring in Clearwater as a way to prove he is the long-term guy and to prove that for better or worse, his uptick in production last season was not a result of his PED usage.
This is the most important Spring Training for Freddy Galvis yet. The future awaits him.