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Friday, April 16, 2021

The Phils' Secret Weapon? Freddy Galvis

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Kevin Noonan
Kevin Noonan
Kevin Noonan has covered and commented on the Delaware sports scene for more than 30 years, everything from amateur recreation leagues and high schools to local colleges and the Philadelphia professional teams. He’s been voted Delaware Sportswriter of the Year multiple times and currently covers the Philadelphia Eagles for CBSSports.com and teaches creative writing courses at Wilmington University.

We don’t know if the Phillies will contend for the National League East title this season. We don’t know if Roy Halladay will ever pitch again. We don’t know if the Phils will eventually dump some of their top-dollar players who are past their primes and we don’t know if manager Charley Manuel will make it through the season.

But we do know at least one thing – Freddy Galvis needs to play every day.

As most Phillies fans know, Galvis is a slick fielder who made it to the big leagues because of his defense, but he’s also been swinging a pretty potent bat this season. Going into Monday night’s game against Miami Marlins, Galvis was hitting .298, which was the highest average on the team. And in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, Galvis went 2-for-4 and won the game with a walk-off home run.

That was Galvis’ third homer of the season, on his 57th at-bat of the season. Compare that to Ryan Howard, who had hit six homers in 151 at-bats. Granted, teams pitch Howard differently than they do Galvis, but Galvis was hitting a home run every 19th at-bat and Howard, who is supposed to be one of the most feared sluggers in the game, was hitting a homer every 25th at-bat.

Galvis was also hitting 53 points higher than Howard, as well as 22 points higher than Chase Utley, 44 points higher than Ben Revere, 47 points higher than Jimmy Rollins, 55 points higher than Domonic Brown, 63 points higher than Carlos Ruiz and 90 points higher than Delmon Young.

Regardless of how you play with the stats, Galvis is hitting better than expected, and now nobody knows what to expect – but the Phillies must find out whether Galvis can be a consistent offensive player as well as a spectacular defensive one. Galvis probably won’t bat .298 for the entire season as he hits the inevitable slumps and lulls that most players face during the course of a long, hot season and as enemy pitchers see more of him and start figuring out his weaknesses.

But he also won’t get any better sitting on the bench or getting an occasional start to rest Utley or Rollins or if one of the starters is injured, which seems to be the case now – Howard has a sore knee that could limit his playing time in the near future, and when Howard sat out Sunday’s game Michael Young moved to first base and Galvis took over at third base for Young.

The Phillies are lucky that Galvis is so versatile. He can play any of the infield positions and he’s becoming a pretty good outfielder, considering he’s hardly ever played there. And he doesn’t seem to mind bouncing around from spot to spot as long as he gets a chance to play.

Galvis is a valuable asset because of that versatility and the flexibility he gives Manuel. At the same time, he deserves a chance to settle in at one position and to play it on a daily basis. That would certainly help his hitting, as he could put more focus on that aspect of the game instead of wondering every day if he’ll need his infielder’s or his outfielder’s mitt.

Plus there’s another reason to play Galvis today, and that is tomorrow. The core of this Phillies team is getting older and won’t be around much longer and Galvis is one of the young guns who will take over for them and carry the Phillies for the next decade. And considering the Phillies’ anemic farm system, that makes Galvis worth his weight in gold.

So, the Phillies need to find a spot for Freddie Galvis and stick him there every day, rain or shine, right-hander or lefty, and see what he can do. So far, that’s been better than just about anybody else on the team.

Contact Kevin Noonan at knoonan32@aol.com.

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