Freddy Galvis hasn’t slowed down much since last season. The Phils shortstop played his last winter ball game on February 6. Nine days later he olleported to Clearwater… with a groin strain. Galvis called it “day-to-day” with little concern it would hold him back for long. He’s already participating in live batting practice and taking infield work… but felt the groin issue was enough of a reason to pull out of the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) to focus on getting ready for the season.
This is good news for both player and team. There is no shortage of plans for what to work on with Freddy this spring. The team expects Galvis to focus less on the power numbers and more on plate discipline. Galvis walked just 25 times in 624 plate appearances last season and his on-base percentage was an abysmal .274.
While Freddy only hit from the right side 23% of the time last season, it’s where he needs the most improvement. As a right-handed hitter against left-handed pitchers, Galvis batted .217 with a .226 OBP. New hitting coach Matt Stairs has it broken down into two different approaches:
From the right side: “We’re going to make some changes in his right handed swing to where I think he needs to have a better balance. And that’s the biggest thing for Freddy is his balance, and this sounds funny but you think about with your stride, you think about stepping on some eggs, you don’t want to break them so you think about landing as soft as possible. Nick Williams has been doing great with it, so really, slowing your body down and trusting your hands and throwing the barrel to the ball.”
From the left side: “We need to have him realize he can’t be a left-handed hitter in his fourth year of baseball and be known as a pull hitter. I understand he had 20 home runs last year and he understands his pitch selection has to be better and I think that goes to the point coming back to where, how are you going to improve the on base percentage? Well, you limit the giveaway at-bats and your on-base percentage is going to go up. You’re going to see better numbers. With Freddy it’s just a constant reminder of, left side, be comfortable.”
Phillies coaches had their share of frustrations with Galvis last season. They tried to get him to use a lighter bat, which he did, sometimes… and manager Pete Mackanin had mixed emotions every time Galvis hit a home run. The organization realizes that when you’re in the money years of your contract, like Freddy is, homers pay more than on-base percentage. But Freddy has to realize that the Phillies only want to invest in a player who buys into their plan. As third base coach Juan Samuel put it, “Not going to crack ‘em right away. Sometimes they need to fail, but they have to buy into it.”
Being in camp all spring will give Freddy time to work on his approach, as well as give his groin time to heal, although nobody seems too concerned about it. Some thought his decision to forgo the WBC may have also been a slight case of J.P. Crawford-itis. There’s no better motivator than a top prospect breathing down your neck.