It feels wrong to talk about “the heady days” of 2012, but that’s appropriate in the case of Freddy Galvis. As the understudy for the injured Chase Utley, Galvis was a defensive revelation and fan favorite in a little more than two months of play at second base. He didn’t hit well at all–.226/.254/.363 in 200 PA–but he was simply magnificent in the field, and the ability to pick up for Utley without missing a step, as well as his cherubic disposition, made him a fan favorite. A couple of us even tried to get a silly nickname–El Falcon, after his home state in Venezuela–to stick on Galvis.
The hope was that Galvis would turn into the kind of dynamic defensive shortstop who could be an acceptable starter in this new dead ball era without contributing much with the bat. Now that we’re not expecting everyone to hit .280 with 20 home runs anymore, you can get away with a shortstop who doesn’t hit at all if he’s truly elite with the glove. The archetype of this player is Andrelton Simmons, who is simply the best defensive shortstop in the world, but there are others, including Brandon Crawford and Alcides Escobar. Galvis, who doesn’t run as well as Escobar or hit for as much power as Simmons, had a ways to go, but as a 22-year-old rookie, El Falcon represented a player we could dream on.