Freddy Galvis had a breakout season for the Phillies in 2016. Can fantasy owners trust him heading into this season?
Freddy Galvis quietly flirted with a 20 HR/20 SB season with the Phillies last season. After years of being a glove-first player, the offense finally came around and he emerged has a quality waiver wire gem. But, was his success last season nothing but a mirage?
The short answer is yes. Galvis ended last season with a .241/20 HR/67 RBI/17 SB/.274 OBP/.673 OPS line, which ranked him among the top fantasy SS producers. Whenever a player like Galvis comes out of the blue and posts career highs across the board, owners must dive deeper into his peripherals to get a better grasp of his success.
No one is going to take away that Galvis is a great defensive SS. He played Gold Glove-caliber defense at short in 2016. But, there was not a significant spike in any of his batted ball ratios to explain the power spike. In 2016 his ratios read as, 24% LD, 40% GB, 36% FB, 56% Med and 27% Hard contact. Base those numbers compared to what he did in 2015, and the biggest margin of improvement was a 1.7% jump in his Hard contact.
While hitting the ball harder certainly helps, it is hard to pinpoint a 13 HR uptick to that simple uptick There was also the fact that, after posting a .280 AVG against LHP in 2015, he was terrible against them in 2016, ending the year with a paltry .215/3 HR/14 RBI line.
Somewhere in between is where he should land, but it is hard to bank on that hope.
The biggest area of weakness in Galvis’ game is in his plate approach. He is uber-aggressive at the plate and that resulted in him posting a league-worst .274 OBP. He struck out 136 times last season, while only drawing 25 walks, giving him back to back seasons of less than a 6% BB rate with over 100 K.
There are plenty of red flags when it comes to his stock heading into 2017, but his SB production should remain decent. He stole 17 bases last season while only being caught six times, and has a 19 SB campaign under his belt in the minors. But, without an uptick in his BB rate, the old baseball adage still applies: you can not steal first base.
There is also the J.P. Crawford effect looming behind Galvis. The Phillies are planning on Crawford being their future star at short, and he is nearly ready to take over if he can continue to hit in the minors. Galvis clearly would lose his spot at short as early as the middle of this season, and it remains to be seen whether or not they would uproot Cesar Hernandez at second base.
Freddy Galvis had a great season for the Phillies in 2016. But, there are just too many things working against him to believe that he can keep things going moving forward. Some fantasy owners might be enthralled by the 20/20 upside, but that may just be fool’s gold. Stay away from Galvis this spring.