MIAMI – Freddy Galvis spent four hours in a stylist’s chair in Philadelphia the other day having his hair spun into dreadlocks.
“That’s why I was growing the afro,” he said with a laugh.
While Galvis spent the weekend showing off his new hairstyle, he spent Monday showing off his power bat. His two-run home run in the fifth inning accounted for the Phillies' second hit of the day and the runs that kick-started the team on its way to a 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Phillies.
The six runs were the most scored by the Phillies since Aug. 14 when they beat Colorado, 7-6.
Galvis hit a 1-2 slider from Marlins starter Jake Esch into the upper deck above right field. In other words, he got it all.
Galvis, 26, has shown surprising power this season. He ranks fourth on the team in homers with 16, trailing Maikel Franco (22), Ryan Howard (20) and Tommy Joseph (17). Before this season, the most homers Galvis had hit was seven, last season.
Galvis’ power surge has complemented a season in which he has played stellar defense at shortstop. But it has also come in a season where he is hitting just .235 with a .270 on-base percentage. For a front office that values defense and the ability to get on base, Galvis is a love-him, hate-him player. And his poor on-base skills don’t make him unique on this team. The Phillies rank last in the majors with a .295 on-base percentage.
Galvis’ season has left manager Pete Mackanin a little conflicted.
“It’s nice that he’s capable of hitting the long ball, but I want him to be more of line drive hitter, not that I wouldn’t take all the home runs we can get,” Mackanin said after Monday’s win.
“But consistency, quality at-bats is what we’re looking for, and .235 is not a good batting average. We want better than that. The home runs are great, but we’re looking for consistency. Don’t get me wrong, Freddy is having a heck of a year. As good as he plays defense and he offers power and he comes up big quite often, but he needs to be more consistent in giving you better quality at-bats, not throw away at-bats.”
Mackanin and hitting coach Steve Henderson have long preached to Galvis about developing a line-drive approach and getting on base more. Ryne Sandberg did it before that.
“Maybe we’ve been preaching the wrong thing to him,” Mackanin joked. “Maybe we should have told him he’s a power hitter. Jeez. He had a big two-run homer to get us going, upper deck.”
That shows Mackanin’s appreciation for Galvis’ power in a big situation like Monday.
Galvis, whose career on-base percentage is just .278, views it the same way. If the game calls for a big hit, he wants to provide it.
But what about on the whole? Galvis was asked about sacrificing some power for more line drives and an improved on-base percentage.
“It depends,” he said. “I think if the home run ties the game or puts us ahead, I stay with that. To win games or tie games, I stay with the homers. But for sure I want to get on base. I want to get more base hits. But if I can make a good swing and hit a home run, that’s good.
“I want to improve in everything. But I think I’m getting RBIs too. That helps the team. I am also hitting at the bottom of the order. The guys hitting at the top, I think those are the guys that need to be on base and that stuff.”
Eventually, possibly as soon as early next season, Galvis will be pushed for playing time by top prospect J.P. Crawford.
His on-base skills are quite good. He has a .373 on-base percentage in four minor-league seasons.