Tag: Freddy Galvis

Freddy Galvis: Phillies Rookie Suspended 50 Games for Positive Drug Test

The hits just keep on coming for the Philadelphia Phillies in a season where they have been decimated by injuries. 

According to an official tweet from Major League Baseball, rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance known as Clostebol—a performance enhancing drug. Though the suspension will begin immediately, Galvis quickly took to the media to claim his innocence through an official statement, passed along by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

“A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”

Galvis came into the season ranked as the team’s sixth-best prospect by the esteemed prospect gurus at Baseball America. After making the transition from shortstop to second base during spring training, he took over the starting job at second for the Phillies with Chase Utley still injured. 

Though Galvis posted a mediocre slash line of .226/.254/.363 at the plate, he proved to be one of the team’s more productive hitters, recording three homers, 15 doubles and 24 RBI. Most importantly, he was spectacular in the field, picking it clean with a .984 fielding percentage. 

Galvis has been out of action since June 6 with an injury known as a Pars fracture. It is a crack in the vertebra that requires a lengthy healing process. The second baseman could be in a back brace for as long as six weeks and there is currently no timetable on his return from injury.

In response to Galvis’ positive test, the Phillies released an official statement as an organization.

“The Phillies continue to believe in and endorse Major League Baseball’s drug policy.  We also support Freddy Galvis in his determination to put this matter behind him and we look forward to his return as a productive member of the Phillies as soon as possible.”

In all reality, the news could be worse for the Phillies. Galvis’ injury will keep him off the field for, at the very least, a majority of his suspension, and thanks to a loophole in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension has minimal impact on Galvis’ outside of his reputation.

Ruben Amaro Jr.’s response to the suspension seemed to reflect that “it could be worse attitude” as he was questioned by Zolecki, among other members of the media. Amaro admitted that he was “disappointed” about the outcome of the test, but that getting him “back onto the field” was the largest concern.

“It’s disappointing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in the Phillies dugout before tonight’s series opener against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. “We fully support the program and the decision. At the same time we support the player. We just want him to get healthy and get back onto the field for us. … We believe in the kid. I believe in him. I think he’s still got a great future for us moving forward.”

Asked if he believed Galvis’ claim of innocence by mentioning only 80 parts of the banned substance in a trillion were found in his system, Amaro said, “I don’t know anything about those numbers. It’s kind of foreign to me. As I said, I support the player. I can’t really comment on it because I don’t know much about it.”

The suspension will expire on Aug. 8 when the Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Philadelphia Phillies: Do the Phillies Know How to Evaluate Their Own Talent?

Dominic Brown- Untouchable.  Jake Diekman- Off the radar.

As the Phillies try for a sixth consecutive NL Eastern Division crown, it’s obvious this season will be more challenging than the previous divisional crowns.  Injuries and age are taking their toll on this core and the latest blow, a shoulder strain to ace Roy Halladay might be too much to overcome.

The Phillies aren’t the only team to battle injuries this season, and most franchises dip into their minors for help.  Seeing that some of the bigger surprises this season have been Freddy Galvis and Jake Diekman, it makes you wonder if the brass of the Phillies know what they are doing when evaluating talent.

A couple of outfielders were deemed untouchable midway through the 2009 season when the Phils went shopping for a pitcher.  Those two were Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor.

Taylor, 6’5 255 lbs was a 5th round draft pick in 2007.  He eventually was included in the deal after the 2009 season that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies.  The Blue Jays quickly flipped him to the Oakland A’s where he appears to have turned into a “quadruple-A” type player.  He’s flashed plenty of power and speed at the minor league level but that hasn’t translated to much into a couple of cups of coffee at the major league level and now he’s just another 26-year old in AAA. 

Brown though, was the real prize.  It was thought the Phillies wouldn’t include Brown in any deal.  Not for Halladay, not for Roy Oswalt, not for Hunter Pence.  Brown has done nothing but regress.  He’s actually living up to him being taken in the 20th-round of the 2006 draft. He’ll turn 25 in September and has quickly fallen from a five-tool prospect to a questionable one-tool prospect. In 259 AAA at-bats since the start of the 2011 season, Brown has hit .259 with just three home runs.  Yes, it appears injuries have derailed him but even in his brief call up in 2010 when he appeared to be on top of his game, Brown looked extremely raw, both at the plate, and in right field.

How about Greg Golson?  Golson was traded straight up for John Mayberry following the 2008 season.  After the 2007 season, Golson was listed as the Phillies minor leaguer with the best power, fastest baserunner, best athlete, best defensive outfielder, and best outfield arm.

Check out the Baseball America 2012 Projected Lineup from an article in early 2009:

C- Lou Marson (dealt to Cleveland in the Cliff Lee trade)

1b- Ryan Howard

2b- Chase Utley

SS- Jimmy Rollins

3b- Jason Donald (dealt to Cleveland in the Cliff Lee trade)

LF- Michael Taylor (dealt to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade)

CF- Shane Victorino

RF- Domonic Brown

SP- Cole Hamels, Carlos Carrasco (Lee), Kyle Drabek (Halladay), Brett Myers, Joe Blanton

CL- Brad Lidge

Yes, these are rankings based from a publication but that is basically from evaluators within the organization.

Freddy Galvis arguably is making a case for “Rookie of the Year” in the National League.  His defense at second has been spectacular, he has held his own offensively, and is progressing nicely.  Why was there any hesitation this spring in making him the guy?

Lefty Jake Diekman was so far off the Phillies radar he didn’t even make the Phillies “Top 10 Prospect” list.  That’s after this 6’4 left struck out 83 hitters in AA last season in 65 innings of work while allowing just 47 hits.  How is a tall lanky lefty who throws 95 dismissed like that?

The answer is simple.  The gang in charge of evaluating young talent within the Phillies’ organization are struggling to evaluate their own, and others for that matter.  The jury is still out on the three they received from Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal.  JC Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies have not done anything to set the world on fire, and that goes back to the evaluators as well.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but the Phillies are nearing a critical stage of the 2012 season.  The time tables on Ryan Howard and Chase Utley’s return are still way up in the air, while Halladay is gone until mid to late July. It’s times like these when other parts of the organization need to show their value. Understanding exactly what they have in the minors can’t be blindfolded “wins” like Diekman or blatant fails like Brown.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Philadelphia Phillies: Don’t Be so Quick to Throw Freddy Galvis Under the Bus

To anyone who might be freaking out about Freddy Galvis: calm down!

It’s not that big of a deal that Galvis hit into two double plays in his Major League debut, couldn’t get an RBI in a couple of big spots on Saturday night and is hitless through his first two games.

Is it really that big a concern that the Phillies‘ number eight hitter has 0 hits, when (besides Carlos Ruiz) no other player has more than two?  

Little things are bound to get blown out of proportion early in the year due to the excitement and anxiety that the beginning of the season brings, but we have to remember to keep things in perspective.  

Freddy Galvis is an 8-hole hitter, Freddy Galvis should not have to win games with his bat. Hunter Pence, who is both way more offensively talented and way better paid than Freddy Galvis, also had a chance to win Saturday’s game. Jim Thome had a chance to win the game too. In fact, anyone who came to the plate had a chance to win the game because even one solo home run would have been the difference.

A lot of this has to do with first impressions. Let’s face it, if Galvis started off hitting .400 in the first two games of the season, it’d be a whole different story. We’d already be crowning him rookie of the year, even though he might struggle the next couple games and see his average dip to .250.

Now, even if he hits well his next two games and gets his average up to around .250, everyone will still have a sour taste in their mouths and view that .250 differently based on his first couple games. Nevermind that the law of averages dictates he’ll probably be at .250 one way or another soon enough.

Even if that is an oversimplification, I’m sure you understand what I mean.  Regardless of where a player’s average ends up, initial hot or cold streaks carry a lot of weight perception-wise.

Also, don’t start to clamor for Mike Fontenot or any other utility infielder just yet.  Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel know what players are free agents or available via trade better than we do, and the fact that they haven’t made any type of move yet is more telling than Galvis’ first two games ever could be.

If Rube and Charlie thought there was a better move to be made, or a better player to plug in there, then that move would be made and that player would be playing; if this team struggles, it affects them way more than it affects any of us fans and armchair GMs.

The point is, give the young man some time. Two games is a laughably small window to base judgments of a player’s ability and worth. He’s not going to hit like Chase Utley, nor should we expect him to. As long as he plays solid defense until Chase returns, hits around .250, and steals some bases, he has done his job.

Anything more is just gravy.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2012 Philadelphia Phillies: Time to Get Used to Freddy Galvis

Face it, you don’t want to think about it too much. You already are sweating Ryan Howard not being able to start the season, and now being out indefinitely is looking more ominous. There is a little bit of comfort knowing that Jim Thome, John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ty Wiggington can all help out at first admirably until Howard returns. 

What you are trying to blow off are negative thoughts about Chase Utley.

No one really cared that Utley didn’t play in the first couple of spring training games. “Better keep him healthy for the regular season” is the consensus thought.

Now we are a full week into games and not only has Utley not played yet, there is no timetable for him to get on the field. You know, this happened in 2011 as well, and Utley ended up starting the season on the disabled list and then missing 50-plus games. Uh oh.

If Utley misses any amount of significant time, who plays second base? Late in the spring last year, the Phillies brought in Luis Castillo for a three-game tryout. That didn’t work out. Super utility man Wilson Valdez was the opening day two-bagger and filled in adequately until Utley returned.

Valdez was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason, leaving Michael Martinez as the only remaining utility man. 

The Phils selected Martinez in the Rule-5 draft last season, but he didn’t do a lot to set the world on fire. He hit .196 with three home runs and 24 runs batted in in 234 plate appearances. He carried a microscopic .540 OPS. It’s doubtful the Phillies brass want to hand him significant amounts of playing time if Utley can’t go.

Wiggington can hit Major League pitching. There is not much doubt about that. However, defensively, second base is probably his fourth best position after first, third and left field.

I’m sure manager Charlie Manuel has thought about former gold-glove second baseman Placido Polanco at second, but keep in mind that Polly isn’t a poster child of health either, and second is a much more physically demanding position than third base.

All of this brings us to rookie Freddy Galvis. The 22-year-old native of Venezuela split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. Between those two levels, Galvis his .278 with eight home runs, 43 runs batted in, 78 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. 

Galvis is considered a “plus” fielder but has primarily played shortstop. Expect to see Manuel pencil in Galvis quite a bit at second this spring with Utley out to see if he can A) handle the position defensively and B) do enough at the plate to survive.

Physically, Galvis is a lot like Valdez or Martinez. He’s 5’10”, 170 pounds, so he’s definitely not an intimidating presence. He’s been playing professionally since he was 17 years old, so there is still some upside. While his bat speed is slightly above average, hitting is where he stills needs to develop.  He is considered one of the best defensive shortstops in all of minor league baseball, which should make a transition to second base seamless if he works on the double play pivot.

So to sum it all up, here is to hoping we don’t have to worry about Galvis’ bat in 2012 and the season opens up with the familiar No. 26 trotting out to second base. If Utley can’t go, though, Galvis has an excellent shot to be in the everyday lineup if he shows he can handle big league pitching this spring.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

What the Jimmy Rollins Signing Means for the Phillies in 2012

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN, shortstop Jimmy Rollins has signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Phillies.

While it’s a relief to hear that J-Roll is coming back, one must also consider what his signing means to other aspects of the team.

Jimmy Rollins may only be the shortstop, but his impact is far-reaching throughout the organization.

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