In 2013, the San Diego Padres’ starting shortstop was Everth Cabrera.
Remember him? He swiped 37 bases that year and hit a respectable .283 in the 95 games he played in. He was the lone position player selected to be an All-Star for the Padres that year. However, his year was cut short due to the Biogenesis scandal in which he accepted a 50-game suspension.
Since then, the Padres have lacked any semblance of stability at the shortstop position. This was not from lack of trying by the Padres’ front office. They brought in guys like Clint Barmes, Alexei Ramirez, and Erick Aybar to fill the position for a year, but they did not produce as expected.
Fast forward to December 15th, 2017. The Padres sent Enyel De Los Santos to the Phillies in exchange for the next stopgap at shortstop, Freddy Galvis. The immediate reaction from Padres fans was mixed. People understood the need for a solid defensive shortstop, but were not too pleased to hand over De Los Santos.
The concern was warranted to an extent. De Los Santos was the Padres’ #13 prospect at the time and Freddy Galvis was perceived as a one-year filler. For a team that is in the middle of a rebuild inching closer to contention, giving up one of your better prospects was likely to not sit well with the fan base.
However, it did not take long for Freddy Galvis to make Padres fans forget all about De Los Santos. On Opening Day, Galvis was part of a spectacular double play in the second inning that caught everyone’s eye immediately.
This is the Freddy Galvis everyone expected. We knew he could flash the glove.
After the shortstops here in the recent past, it's been an absolute treat to watch Freddy Galvis this spring. He just started another pretty fantastic double play.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 29, 2018
Throughout the first series of the 2018 season, Galvis stood out offensively just as much as he did defensively. He was snaring line drives and starting double plays while coming up with timely base hits and home runs. This type of production from the shortstop position has been unprecedented in recent years in San Diego and it was about as refreshing as you’d imagine.
When the trade took place, all of the experts discussed how Galvis was going to fill the defensive need for the Padres. He was going to be the guy they could start everyday at short and expect great defense from. There was no chatter about his offensive production–for good reason. Galvis has not been known to be stellar with the bat in recent years. Last year with the Phillies, Galvis hit .255 with 12 home runs and 61 RBI’s. These numbers are respectable, but it appears he may be on a mission to change that narrative in 2018.
While he cooled off a bit in the series against the Rockies, he is still hitting .333 on the year. Of course the season is young and his numbers will soon regress, but there is reason to believe that Galvis can bring a spark to this young team on both sides of the ball.
It is likely to be another rough year for the Padres, but if Galvis continues the trajectory he is on, we fans are in for a real treat.