Among the many press releases that land in the inbox each month is a dispatch that announces the Players of the Month from the Phillies' minor league organization. The awards are nice individual honors, but they have little relevance to the big picture.
Today, though, the two players honored by the Phillies for August should catch your eye. Both have boosted their stock this season. Both should be in big league spring training next season. And both could play their way into consideration for the 2012 Opening Day roster.
Freddy Galvis is only 21 years old, but he has already spent five seasons in the Phillies' organization. He drew raves for his glove work during his 2008 season at low-A Lakewood, but the Phillies spent the next couple years waiting for his bat to catch up. He hit .238/.288/.588 at Lakewood in '08, .247/.280/.307 at Clearwater in 2009, and .233/.276/.311 at Reading in 2010.
This season, though, Galvis has finally showed some significant progress. In 104 games at Reading, he hit .273/.326/.400 with eight home runs before earning a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he is hitting .298/.315/.364 with no home runs through 33 games.
Most encouraging is the development of his power: In his first three years in the minors, just 35 of his 220 hits (15.9 percent) went for extra bases. Over the last two years, 66 of his 268 hits (24.6 percent) have gone for extra bases. He is making more contact and driving the ball with more frequency, which is what you hope to see as a young hitter develops. It is probably a stretch to think that Galvis will end up on the 2012 Opening Day roster, let alone be in consideration to replace Jimmy Rollins if the Gold Glover signs elsewhere as a free agent. But a solid showing in spring training and continued improvement at Lehigh Valley next season could do a lot to hasten his rise to the big leagues.
A more likely contender for an Opening Day spot is Joe Savery, the erstwhile 2007 first-round draft pick who went from the rotation to the lineup before finally finding his niche in the bullpen, where he is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 18 appearances at Lehigh Valley this season.
Savery, the Pitcher of the Month for August, should get an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Phillies bullpen next spring. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that Savery has "resurrected" his career with his performance as a reliever this season. His velocity has risen, hitting 92-93, and his slider has been a good pitch for him. It has only been 18 appearances. But he is definitely back on the radar.
Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.