Comparing Freddy Galvis to the Last 10 Years of Padres Shortstops

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Credit: USA Today Sports

The Padres traded pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos to the Philadelphia Phillies for shortstop Freddy Galvis on December 15, 2017.

Recently, as De Los Santos has made his major league debut with the Phillies, the debate has raged on about whether or not this was a smart move.

One side says it was unnecessary to trade for a rental shortstop in a rebuilding year and the other side has had enough of bottom-of-the-barrel infielders attempting to impersonate a shortstop for the Padres for the past four or five years.

First of all, who says he is a rental? Who is to say there is 0% chance the Padres re-sign Galvis after this year? I am not so sure it’s a done deal that Galvis is one-and-done as a Padre.

Secondly, can’t we all just take a step back and appreciate what we are seeing from Galvis?

Granted, he is no Francisco Lindor or Carlos Correa, but he has been pretty much what the Padres hoped he would be once he arrived in San Diego. He plays every single day (leads the MLB with 99 games played), plays a good defense and occasionally comes through with the bat, certainly more so than the previous shortstops the Padres have had.

Let’s dive into some numbers that suggest Freddy Galvis is one of the best shortstops the Padres have had since the days of Khalil Greene (2004-2008).

We will take into consideration offense, defense and overall value using wRC+, Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

wRC+

Name Year wRC+
Everth Cabrera 2013 113
Khalil Greene 2007 98
Everth Cabrera 2009 95
Everth Cabrera 2012 87
Jerry Hairston 2010 82
Jason Bartlett 2011 79
Erick Aybar 2017 74
Freddy Galvis 2018 70
Alexi Amarista 2014 70
Alexei Ramirez 2016 62
Khalil Greene 2008 61
Alexi Amarista 2015 48

Defensive Runs Saved

Name Year DRS
Freddy Galvis 2018 9
Khalil Greene 2007 8
Alexi Amarista 2014 7
Jerry Hairston 2010 1
Alexi Amarista 2015 1
Khalil Greene 2008 -2
Everth Cabrera 2013 -3
Everth Cabrera 2012 -4
Erick Aybar 2017 -4
Everth Cabrera 2009 -8
Jason Bartlett 2011 -10
Alexei Ramirez 2016 -17

Wins Above Replacement

Player Year WAR
Everth Cabrera 2013 2.9
Khalil Greene 2007 2.8
Everth Cabrera 2012 1.7
Jerry Hairston 2010 1.5
Jason Bartlett 2011 1.2
Everth Cabrera 2009 0.9
Alexi Amarista 2014 0.7
Freddy Galvis 2018 0.1
Erick Aybar 2017 -0.2
Khalil Greene 2008 -0.7
Alexi Amarista 2015 -0.9
Alexei Ramirez 2016 -1.5

I originally thought Galvis was the best shortstop the Padres have had since Khalil Greene. Defensively, that statement is true, in fact, Galvis might be even better than Greene with the glove.

Credit: USA Today Sports

With the bat, of course Galvis leaves something to be desired. He has dropped below Erick Aybar’s 2017 wRC+ but Galvis’ defense far exceeds Aybar’s. I don’t think there is much argument that Galvis is the best all-around shortstop the Padres have had since Everth Cabrera, but even he had poor defensive numbers. Cabrera made up for it with the bat as he hit .283 with 37 stolen bases in 2013, however we now know that was perhaps aided by performance-enhancing drugs as he was suspended as part of the Biogenesis PED investigation later that season.

Galvis has a black mark on his record from 2012, but that was a long time ago. He has learned from then. Take Cabrera out of the equation and Galvis certainly tops the list of the post-Greene era. Alexi Amarista was reliable defensively but never was a threat with the bat, averaging a wRC+ just under 62 in his four seasons in San Diego.

I honestly forgot Jerry Hairston was the main shortstop of anyone on the team in that exciting run to 90 wins in 2010, at least until they acquired an aging Miguel Tejada at the deadline.

Let’s not even get into Alexei Ramirez.

Jason Bartlett was serviceable with the bat in 2011 but an eyesore on defense.

Having a good defensive shortstop is similar to having a good defensive catcher in a way that you don’t need that player to be a superstar at the plate. Of course, you would love both but there is value in having a good defensive shortstop, even if that means having to compensate for a punch-less bat. Galvis’ bat is not punch-less but it certainly has cooled off. He posted a wRC+ over 80 in April and June but is at a microscopic 37 in July.

I guess we can forgive him if he keeps making plays like these at short.

Galvis may not be the best shortstop since Khalil Greene as that title may still be with Cabrera but there is no denying Galvis has been the best since Cabrera and it is not even close. It’s just nice to have an everyday, competent, Major League-caliber shortstop on the Padres again and the people agree.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

7 thoughts on “Comparing Freddy Galvis to the Last 10 Years of Padres Shortstops

  1. These two things are true at the same time: Galvis has been the best SD SS in forever, and it was still a bad deal for them to trade away De Los Santos for a stopgap. A player at a premium defensive position is either excellent with the glove, or rock steady with the glove and great at the plate. Galvis is the former. Cabrera was terrible once he was off the juice, so throw out those numbers.
    Since so much of the improvement of the club will hang on the development of young pitchers it seems probable that SD brings Galvis back for at least another year.
    And why not, it is a relief to actually have a ML SS at SS.

  2. Good article, Nick. I think we can all agree that Galvis is a plus defensively. He’s pretty terrible when it comes to getting on base, unfortunately, which is why the Philies traded him in the first place. Padres have the worst OBP in baseball and he’s part of the reason why. No reason to hold onto Galvis with Tatis coming in 2019.

    1. …and if Tatis can’t cut it ? Who’s your backup ? Asuaje, Villanueva, Spangenberg ?
      Sign Freddy for 2 more years and let Tatis grow into the job. Galvis is a bright light for the Padres infield and the most consistent defensive player we have. You may not like the Padre’s OBP, but our defense has been pretty poor this year as well.

      1. It will all depend on what Galvis is asking for. A QO will be almost 18M dollar and a gamble he will sign elsewhere over 50M to get a pick just in front of comp rd A (31 to 36). Otherwise your comp for that gamble is after the second rd comp B pick. Essentially what they got with Phil Hughes (aprox 68 to 75).

        Tatis could already give you the glove and his bat probably wouldnt be any worse. A player like Jose Iglesias would also be a free agent glove first SS, that has a better bat for a stop gap. Luis Urias could be an option there as well but not likely to send the kid to the wolves. Past that Giron, Cordoba, Almanzar and Arias.

        1. No way Galvis is getting a $50 million deal with any team. If the Padres extend him, it should be for one year at the most, and it should be for well below the QO amount.

  3. A “debate”?! That’s like saying there is a raging debate over what is a more desirable place to live, San Diego or Antarctica.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.