Phillies players under the radar

Freddy Galvis needs a better bat to break into big leagues.
Freddy Galvis needs a better bat to break into big leagues.
Posted: February 11, 2011

FREDDY GALVIS

At some point in the next several months, the Phillies will have to make a decision on Jimmy Rollins, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Many factors will be taken into account. How well Rollins plays. How much money he wants. How many years he wants it for.

And, not insignificantly, who takes over if the best shortstop in franchise history doesn't return.

Which is what makes Freddy Galvis such an intriguing player to follow starting with spring training.

Two years ago, he was being talked up as the shortstop of the future. His defense was already deemed to be Gold Glove caliber. The only question was when he would be able to hit well enough to play every day in the big leagues.

Still waiting . . .

Galvis batted .233 at Double A Reading last year, .188 for the Navegantes del Magallenes in the Venezuelan Winter League.

There's still time. He just turned 21 last November. But given the uncertainty surrounding Rollins, it will be interesting to watch and see if his time is at hand.

- Paul Hagen

BEN FRANCISCO

Somehow, the reality of Ben Francisco has been obscured in the legend of Jayson Werth.

When the Indians included Francisco in the Cliff Lee trade in 2009, it was with pained acquiescence, not with painless indifference. Francisco was a 27-year-old with above-average tools, with a promising righthanded bat with well-developed outfield skills, playing every day. He was the fourth-best outfielder in the Phillies' system the day he landed.

Francisco, in just his second full season as a major leaguer, was on his way to hitting .257 with 15 homers and 46 RBI in 405 at-bats. He strikes out more against righthanders than against lefthanders, but the rest of his numbers, including batting average, are virtually identical.

Suggesting that Francisco needs to platoon in rightfield with a Domonic Brown, a guy who can't play the position and who managed 13 hits in spot play last season, is insulting. Brown is a raw talent who needs polish. Francisco is a major league baseball player.

The Phillies - namely, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. - acquired Francisco to eventually play the outfield as a low-priced starter, a righthanded bat in a ballpark where even marginal righthanded power is magnified.

And, by the way, when Werth joined the Phillies in 2007, his credentials were no better than Francisco's. Nobody expected Werth to become an All-Star and then cash in for $126 million with Nationals.

Player to watch? In this lineup, in this ballpark, in this moment, Francisco is a player to bet on.

- Marcus Hayes

JUSTIN DE FRATUS

If you are looking for the future of the Phillies' bullpen, you might start with this 6-4, 215-pound fireballer from southern California. Justin De Fratus, an 11th-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, dominated last season, his first as a full-time reliever.

The 23-year-old righthander saved 21 games at Class A Clearwater and Double A Reading, posting a 1.94 ERA in 65 innings. After competing for Team USA in the Pan American Qualifying tournament, De Fratus moved on to the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 11 while allowing six base-runners in seven scoreless innings. That performance earned him a spot in the league's annual Rising Stars game.

With a mid-90s fastball and an improving slider, the Phillies believe he can develop into a back-of-the-bullpen arm, perhaps even a closer on the major league level. De Fratus has yet to compete at Triple A, but a strong spring and first half of the season could put him in position to contribute if the Phillies need an arm down the stretch.

- David Murphy

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