2017 Phillies Report Card: Freddy Galvis
I haven’t been particularly kind to Freddy Galvis in the past on this site, but I think I’m still going to miss him a little bit in 2018. El Falcon’s 2017 season turned out to be his last one in red pinstripes, as he’s now a San Diego Father. Freed from the burden of having to evaluate Galvis in the context of J.P. Crawford, I want to take a fresh look at Freddy and see if time, distance, and a twinge of nostalgia can change my mind.
In 2017, at age 27 Freddy Galvis probably had his most complete season as a major leaguer. He set single-season career bests in games played (162), plate appearances (663), hits (155), doubles (29), triples (6), runs (71), walk rate (6.8%), OBP (.309), wOBA (.298), and wRC+ (80). From that standpoint alone I give him full marks, and considering the value of reliability (he played literally every day) and nearly top tier fielding at shortstop, Galvis probably earned something like a C grade. On the other hand, topping out at a .309 OBP is Exhibit A for my general lack of interest in Galvis.
He was 14th among all qualifying shortstops with a 1.6 fWAR, which was boosted significantly by his defense. That’s fine, I suppose, but Galvis will be entering his age 28 season and just had his best year ever, and still managed to be basically 20 percent below league average at the plate. He was a good torch carrier, locker room leader, and emotional supporter, and for those contributions he holds a special place in people’s hearts to a degree.
But he doesn’t run that much—10, 17, and 14 steals apiece in 2015, 2016, and 2017—and has fringe power at best, with 7, 20, and 12 homers in the past three seasons. He’s a career .245 hitter. Peel all that away and what you get is a pretty great defender who can stay on the field. That’s valuable, but it’s not exciting and not the kind of profile I’m looking for in a starting shortstop.
With a few years of J.P. Crawford on the books, by the time the Phillies are back on top of the division (which won’t be long now) I think we’re going to realize even more just how great Jimmy Rollins was, how unremarkable Galvis was, and how hard it is to follow a Hall of Fame-caliber player beloved by an entire city.
I’m still going to celebrate Freddy’s one or two homers a month with the #ElFalcon hashtag on twitter. Old habits are hard to break.