In a season in which so many Orioles started slowly, a marker of hope that things can quickly turn around might be the player who looked most lost at the plate over the first week: shortstop Freddy Galvis.
A week into the season, an 0-for-4 in the Orioles’ home opener dropped Galvis to a .129 batting average (3-for-26) with a .343 OPS, and the shadow of José Iglesias loomed large over the beginning of his Orioles career.
Then, slowly, he started morphing into his predecessor. Galvis started to improve during the first homestand and was the Orioles’ best hitter by far on the recent road trip in Miami that ended Wednesday.
Since the home opener, Galvis is batting .394 with a 1.187 OPS and a pair of home runs. He went 9-for-17 on the road trip, and seems to be finding his form at the plate and helping to extend the Orioles’ lineup.
The high highs and low lows of his month make it difficult to glean where he’ll settle in once there’s a regression from this current hot streak. An abnormally high batting average on balls in play (.350 versus a career mark of .290) means that could come down as the season goes along.
He’s posting season highs in walk rate (9.1%) and strikeout rate (25.8%), so those are a bit of a wash. But in terms of hard contact and the type of contact he’s producing, the only glaring difference from Galvis’ past is that he entered Wednesday’s game with a career-low 30% ground ball rate.
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That alone might account for more hits falling in throughout the year, but anything above Galvis’ career production and competent shortstop defense on a daily basis would make him well worth the $1.5 million the Orioles will pay him this year.
Galvis is an example that some Orioles need to take note of in how quickly the numbers beside their name on the scoreboard can turn around. The group of struggling teammates he’s left behind is a large one.
Trey Mancini feels he’s made the proper mental and physical adjustments to get himself back on track over the last week or so with hitting coach Don Long. Players like Rio Ruiz and Chance Sisco are hitting below their career standards but could pull out of it with a week like Galvis had, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, a down road trip for Cedric Mullins meant his OPS fell from 1.026 to .870 in less than a week.
It’s still plenty early for anyone to tie too much of his self worth into the statistics from less than a month of this six-month season. Galvis being the line-drive hitter he is and finding gaps instead of making outs at the bottom of the Orioles order could make for some better efforts for the whole team offensively as 2021 rolls on.
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