Phillies prospect Hernandez looking to emulate Galvis

Reading second baseman Cesar Hernandez wants to join his buddy Freddy Galvis in the big leagues.
Reading second baseman Cesar Hernandez wants to join his buddy Freddy Galvis in the big leagues. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff)
Posted: June 03, 2012

READING, Pa. - Freddy Galvis shipped some of his bats to double-A Reading last week and his fellow countryman Cesar Hernandez used one of them to hit his first Eastern League home run.

That's a cool story, but it's not the first time the Venezuelan infielders have been linked and, if all goes according to the Phillies' plan, it will not be the last either.

Galvis, after spending most of the last two seasons at double-A Reading, is making a strong first impression at the big-league level, particularly with the way he has played second base for the Phillies in the absence of Chase Utley.

Hernandez, six months younger than Galvis, has watched intently as his friend and former Little League rival has made all those highlight-reel plays in the field.

"It's a big motivation," Hernandez said through the translation of Reading teammate Miguel Abreu. "I practiced with Freddy back home and in spring training and he's a good friend. We talk a lot. I'm happy for him and I want to do the same thing as him."

Hernandez, who turned 22 last month, is definitely on the right track if he wants to join Galvis in the big leagues. Heading into the weekend, he was tied for ninth in the Eastern League with a .311 average, tied for fifth with 60 hits, and tied for eighth with 29 RBIs.

He had only one home run, but he was second in the league to teammate Tyson Gillies with five triples, and he also had 13 doubles.

Galvis' offensive numbers at Reading never came close to being that impressive. Galvis, in fact, had to return to Reading after hitting just .233 at double A when he was 20 years old.

"We might be the same in a lot of ways, but I think I can hit more and I'm faster than him," Hernandez said. "But he's in the big leagues now."

It's conceivable that Galvis and Hernandez could be the double-play combination of the future in Philadelphia. Galvis is playing second base now, but has said he'd still love to be a shortstop in the future. Hernandez has come through the organization as a second baseman.

He signed for $50,000 the same day Galvis received a $90,000 signing bonus in 2006. Galvis' glove was his biggest attraction. Hernandez had a sweet swing.

"Don Welke had been following Cesar as a scout with San Francisco and they let him go," said Sal Agostinelli, the Phillies' international scouting supervisor. "Don brought Cesar in for a workout and he was a little guy who really couldn't hit the ball that far out of the infield. But he could run and he had a really good-looking swing. You could project him being a good hitter. The only thing that wasn't there was the strength."

Hernandez got to know Galvis as a kid. He lived in Valencia and Galvis lived in Punto Fijo, two towns that are about three hours apart.

"Since Little League, we played against each other," Hernandez said. "He always won. All through Little League, he won."

Galvis won a Senior Little League World Series title before signing with the Phillies at the age of 16 in 2006.

Dusty Wathan was Hernandez's manager last year at single-A Clearwater and is again this season at Reading. He has been impressed by the way the switch-hitting Hernandez has developed from both sides of the plate.

"I would have told you in the past that he was better from the [left side], but he has been outstanding from both sides this year," Wathan said. "Not only his average, but all his stats are pretty much even. That's another special thing to see out of a young player as a switch-hitter."

Galvis has always talked about how he idolized Omar Vizquel, the best fielding shortstop to ever come out of Venezuela. Hernandez named the more offensive-minded Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians as his role model.

Still, it is Galvis who provides home run bats and motivation for Hernandez.

"If he can be there, I know I can be there, too," Hernandez said.


TOP 25 PHILLIES PROSPECTS:

 philly.com/philliesprospects

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Contact Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @brookob.

 

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