Name: Jonathan Galvez
DOB: January 18, 1991
Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2007, Galvez – formerly known as Spraud – was ineligible to play that first season because he would not turn 17 by the end of the season.
Seventeen throughout all of 2008, Galvez played against competition that was sometimes four and five years his elder.
The shortstop got off to a torrid start, notching a .556 on-base percentage and .367 average over his first 20 games. The next 24, however, was a period of adjustment. The right-handed hitter batted just .153 but maintained a .327 on-base percentage. His final 10 games produced a .464 average and .595 on-base percentage.
For the season, Galvez hit .272 with a .449 on-base percentage. He drew 47 walks compared to 40 strikeouts, notched 31 runs scored and 31 RBI. Nine of his 44 hits went for extra bases, including three homers.
"With Galvez, this guy is another one that knows the strike zone," DSL Padres manager Evaristo Lantigua said. "He's good at the plate. I've got no doubt on him about hitting."
Galvez stole eight bases in nine attempts and hit .309 with runners on base and .364 with the bases loaded. He reached base multiple times in 27 of his 54 games with the DSL Padres.
The tale of two seasons came when Galvez changed his approach at the plate and tried to send every ball out of the yard. Instead of staying with his approach and hitting the ball where it was pitched, Galvez was gearing up and maxing his swing out – often flailing wildly at the ball.
The result was 27 strikeouts in 85 at-bats during July. In June and August, Galvez fanned just 13 times.
The opposition knew he was a threat and fed him a steady diet of breaking balls. Galvez took time to adjust to that as well. He was chasing pitches outside of his comfort zone and playing right into their hands.
"The only thing, he had that bad month," Lantigua said. "After hitting .400 in June, he changed his plan, he tried to hit homers. He was trying to do some damage, try to carry the team, started over swinging, plus, all of those breaking balls, that's why he had that bad month. Other than that, I think he was our best hitter."
Normally, Galvez has a terrific batting eye and waits for his pitch in his zone. If it falls outside of the spot he is looking, he lets it go. As most young players can attest, bad habits are easy to fall into and hard to break. A credit to the shortstop, therefore, for recognizing the pattern and adapting late in the year.
"With the way our division is set up and the age of the Washington pitchers in particular, it's actually tougher to hit in the Dominicans than in Arizona," Padres director of international scouting Randy Smith said. "They're seeing a lot of release players, 21, 22, 23 that can spin a breaking ball, have some velocity."
The Dominican native has swift and compact stroke, allowing for maximum plate coverage as he gets his arms extended before bringing the bat head through the zone.
Galvez is a line drive hitter with a wiry frame. He has plenty of room to fill out but has surprising pop for his age and size. When he is mechanically sound, he is a doubles hitter that will turn those two-baggers into homers as he matures.
His hand-eye coordination is terrific, especially for a player coming from Latin America. Plate patience and awareness are strengths that he uses well. He recognizes pitches and can put bat to ball. When he swings outside of his comfort zone, Galvez still puts bat to ball – resulting in weak grounders and pop ups.
"It's just like Liriano, those guys have a reputation and they get pounded with the breaking ball," Smith said. "He became a little frustrated not seeing the fastball, probably didn't lay off the breaking ball as much as he should.
"He's another guy with very high on-base percentage, and I think has plate discipline and pitch recognition. He scuffled, and had a bad month; that's kind of typical of, really, any player. I think he's pleased with how he finished up. I think he's right on track."
Defensively, he is a work in progress. There are several who wonder whether he will be able to stick at shortstop – especially as he matures into his body. Right now, he is too quick with his movements and does not settle his balance and footwork down before the throw. It results in off-balance and errant throws to the bag. His lateral quickness is decent but the first-step read needs additional work.
Galvez has decent speed but it likely won't be much of a factor in the future. He will steal a few bags here and there but profiles to hit for more power when he fills out.
Conclusion: Galvez' biggest need is adding muscle to his frame. He already has a clean approach to hitting. Strength will give him the advantage of hitting balls cleanly and still shooting them out of the park. At 17, he has time to grow but needs to make a yearly commitment.
His mental makeup – first succeeding in Instructs a year ago and adapting through the season this season – is a definitive advantage. He is not awed by his surroundings and is able to take instruction and put it to use. That quality is sometimes rare. Galvez has superstar potential with the bat and his advanced approach, if maintained, will lead to positive results and blossoming power. Strength and the status quo is all that is needed for him to begin reaching the vast array of bat skills.
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