Obviously, adding a defensive whiz like Freddy Galvis figures to solidify the San Diego Padres’ middle-infield. But the Friars’ projected starting second-baseman is no slouch either. This could bode very well for the pitching staff.
As the Padres get ready to kick off the regular-season, one can only imagine the possibilities of how this much-improved middle-infield defense should benefit this team. With a staff full of groundball pitchers, this duo could potentially end up being instrumental in their success.
In just 680.2 innings at second last season for the Pads, Carlos Asuaje (fangraphs.com) had a fielding percentage of .992 and an ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 1.5. If he qualified, this would have landed him in the top half of the rankings among all MLB second basemen in 2017.
Galvis’ defense will be a godsend for Padres
Freddy Galvis (fangraphs.com) has made a name for himself around the league as an above-average, borderline-elite defender. His career .984 fielding percentage at shortstop speaks for itself, but his advanced defensive metrics could be the most remarkable part of his game.
His UZR through 4,276 innings at the shortstop position is 19.6. That is through three full seasons, plus 300-or-so innings spread out between 2012 and 2014.
His 15.1 UZR in 2016 ranked ninth in MLB for all position players and fifth among shortstops, all coming in his second full MLB season remember. Remarkable, to say the least.
His numbers took a dip last season, with his UZR dropping down to 3.6. It was still good for eighth in the league among shortstops, but nowhere near his mind-blowing marks set the previous season. He’s left himself with some room for improvement this year, no doubt.
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San Diego Padres’ pitchers are groundball pitchers
The combination of Galvis and Asuaje could come into play at any point in any given game with the Padres pitchers’ propensity to induce groundballs.
Again, this should put this team in a much better position to win more ballgames this season, which is always a good thing.
Even if Galvis should leave after the season in free-agency and he misses the Padres’ championship window (which is coming, mark those words), Fernando Tatis, Jr, and even before him, Luis Urias, both play a magnificent shortstop.
The San Diego Padres middle infield figures to be pretty solid for the next few years. If AJ Preller builds his future team’s pitching staff with this basic principle in mind, it could make a world of difference.