Is Freddy Galvis Better Than Jimmy Rollins?



Oh, you mean, there should be more to this column? Well, if you insist.

Freddy Galvis, the rookie defensive phenom pressed into service at second base, has emerged from his opening month cocoon and is now officially tearing the cover off the ball.

Not literally, because that would take a lot of time and attention, and sounds like a really boring hobby. Not only that, but he would need to use some sort of knife or sharp peeling implement, which could be dangerous given how important it is that he maintain possession of all 10 fingers. But figuratively, as a baseball metaphor, he is spanking the ball with aplomb.

He’s also playing a wickedly amazing defensive second base which, by the way, he only started playing regularly two months ago.

I’ve been a little hard on Jimmy Rollins lately, and for good reason. He’s not doing a whole lot right now, and just signed a 3-year, $33 million contract in the offseason. Through 40 games, Rollins is hitting .228/.293/.285 for an OPS of .578.

No one is expecting Jimmy to be the MVP-level player he once was, but a .578 OPS will get you thrown in prison in some states.

Galvis’ overall numbers aren’t too great, either. Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox, Galvis was hitting .234/.269/.387 for an OPS of .656.

Still, Galvis’ OPS is .656. Rollins’ is .578.

So, the question is, when Chase Utley comes back, if he ever does, would playing Galvis at shortstop make the Phillies a better team?

Before the column goes any further, let’s face facts. If Utley and Rollins are both healthy and capable of playing together, Charlie Manuel is going to start both players. That’s what he does. Veterans, especially ones earning $11 million a year, get more than two months to prove themselves. The Phillies have a lot of money invested in Rollins, and they’re not going to throw their franchise player on the bench unless he’s absolutely killing the team.

Call it The Brad Lidge Corollary.

But if both Rollins and Galvis continue to play the same baseball they’re playing right now, then yes, playing Galvis at shortstop over Rollins makes the Phillies a better baseball team. From a strictly baseball standpoint, it would be the smart move.

Coming into Saturday night (stat courtesy of @RoobCSN), Galvis was 5th among all MLB second basemen with 14 extra-base hits and 7th in RBIs with 17. That was before he hit his second home run in as many nights on Saturday night, the latest off of Boston’s John Lester, driving in another two runs.

Over the last 14 days, heading into Saturday, Galvis was hitting .325, had an OBP of .372, an OPS of .947 and 1 HR and 11 RBIs. He added another dinger and two more RBI to that total following his home run off Lester.

Simply put, Galvis seems as if he’s starting to put it together at the plate. And for a guy that was already brilliant in the field, any kind of production at the dish makes him a potential 3-4 WAR player.

That being said, two weeks do not a season make. Galvis still has a long way to go to prove that he has the offensive chops to be an everyday player. But it sure seems like it’s all there. His baseball instincts are outstanding, he always seems to make the right play, and the Philadelphia fans already love him.

There’s no way Galvis will remain an every day player with the Phils once Chase Utley returns, and if that turns out to be the case, the best move will probably be for Galvis to go down to AAA and continue to get at bats on a consistent basis.

Oh, and anyone asking about the possibility of an Utley trade in order to make room for Galvis can put that notion to bed. First, why would anyone trade FOR Utley, given the chronic condition of his knees, and can anyone really imagine Amaro or Manuel making that move? Second, don’t jump the gun on anything because of Freddy’s hot month of May, although this tweet by @ryanlawrence21 is eye-popping…

All we can say is that the signs are encouraging, and that as of May 19, 2012, Freddy Galvis is better than Jimmy Rollins. And he may be just as good as Chase Utley, given his medical condition.

And that is making people think long and hard about how to move forward in 2013.