Improved bat could help Galvis cement role

With top prospect Crawford looming, shortstop makes case for future with Phils

Improved bat could help Galvis cement role

LOS ANGELES -- If Freddy Galvis could hit more consistently, his future with the Phillies might be a no-brainer.

He smacked a three-run home run to left field in the seventh inning of Wednesday afternoon's 6-2 victory over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The homer against Dodgers left-hander Grant Dayton put the Phillies in front by one, and it also snapped Galvis' streak of 305 consecutive plate appearances without a homer against a lefty, which dated to Aug. 26, 2014, when he homered against Washington's Gio Gonzalez.

"Wow, I can't even remember," Galvis said of his last homer against a lefty. "I think it was like three years ago. Two years ago?"

Galvis later preserved the Phillies' one-run lead with runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth. Joc Pederson hit a hard ground ball to Galvis' right. The shortstop made a foot-first slide and backhanded the ball before standing up and making a strong throw to first get Pederson to end the inning.

"We try to help each other," he said. "I made the play for [Hector] Neris and for the team. It was good."

Galvis' solid defense has never been in question.

Galvis' sliding stop

His instincts on the field and leadership qualities in the clubhouse impress his manager and coaches, too. But Galvis' offense has been his shortcoming. He is hitting .231 with 18 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and a .627 OPS.

Galvis' .618 OPS at shortstop entering Wednesday ranked 23rd out of 25 qualified shortstops, according to FanGraphs.

Those numbers are noteworthy, as Phillies' prospect J.P. Crawford continues to play in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Crawford might not join the Phillies this season, even as a September callup, but the expectation is that Crawford will be the team's everyday shortstop at some point next season.

Galvis said he is not following Crawford's progress.

"I follow my daughter," he said.

Galvis eventually could move to second base, where he played brilliant defense in place of Chase Utley in 2012 and '13. But Cesar Hernandez's recent offensive performance might make things a little more interesting heading into the offseason. Hernandez is hitting .285 with 11 doubles, eight triples, 27 RBIs and a .714 OPS, but he makes too many mental mistakes on the field for the coaching staff's liking.

If Galvis can finish the season strong -- he has hit .294 with a .735 OPS against lefties since July 3 -- he could help his cause.

"I don't want to conjecture too much," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said about Galvis' future with the Phillies, "but I like Freddy a lot. You cannot deny his ability at short defensively, and the guy's got 11 home runs and closing in on 50 RBIs. I'll take the sure-handed shortstop with good range that can drive in 50-plus runs and hit more than 10 home runs."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.