The vast majority of National League teams find a way to survive with a player like Freddy Galvis in the lineup. The Phillies lineups of yesteryear that boasted power at every position were more an unprecedented luxury than they were standard operating procedure. Even when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, their lineup featured Pedro Feliz, who hit just .249 with a .302 on-base percentage but provided one of the National League's most skilled gloves at third base.
But that does not mean the Phillies can spend the entire season with Galvis in the eight hole. Though they finished with the best record in the majors over the last two seasons despite 663 plate appearances from Wilson Valdez, the light-hitting utility man's .652 OPS during that time was still 39 points higher than Galvis has managed in five minor-league seasons.
There has never been a question about the defensive ability of the 22-year-old Venezuelan. From the time he entered the minor-league system as a 17-year-old at rookie-league Williamsport, team personnel have raved about his near-major-league-ready glove. So manager Charlie Manuel was not the least bit surprised at how Galvis handled the transition from his natural position at shortstop to second base, where he is expected to start the season in place of the injured Chase Utley.
"Am I surprised? Not really," Manuel said. The hardest part about it is probably going to his right and going across his back and turning the double play. But at the same time, he's done really good. He's been quicker to adapt to it than I expected, but I wasn't surprised. Freddy is a good player. He has good instincts. He knows how to play. He makes very few mistakes in the game. He's sure-handed. And he likes to play, too."