Fresh off a season in which he made his major league debut, outfield prospect Aaron Altherr could be knocking on the door to the help the big team once again in 2015.
The righty hitting Altherr entered last season with a .260 batting average with 28 home runs, 201 RBI and 103 stolen bases in 428 career games and made a solid enough impression to jump two levels when the Phillies called.
After starting the 2014 season on the disabled list with a wrist injury, the six-foot-five 220-pounder took some time to heat up, but once he did in June (tallying a .392 average with five doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI in 13 games to start the month), the Phillies rewarded Altherr with a promotion to the big league roster, when Tony Gwynn Jr. left on bereavement after his father passed away.
In two games with the Phils, Altherr went 0-for-5 with two strike outs. Overall in 127 minor league contests last season, he posted a .237 average with 14 homers, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Altherr, who was selected by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2009 draft, played in 31 games in the Venezuelan Winter League this off-season, putting together an outstanding .286/.392/.486 slash line alongside his Phils teammates Freddy Galvis with Zulia.
Born in Germany to a military family, Altherr, drives the ball to the gaps quite well. He’ll need to improve on his 23.2% strike out rate as a pro and make more contact if he wants to make a permanent leap to the top level of the sport.
Altherr is very quick, has a great first step and is a steady stolen base threat. With a focus on causing trouble for his opponents on the bases, he sports a career 81% success rate at steal attempts in the minors.
Having played shortstop at Agua Fria High School in Arizona, the Phillies considered switching Altherr to third base in 2011, and he worked out there, but the move didn’t stick and he returned to the outfield.
On defense, Altherr has very good instincts and glides to the ball with superior range. His strong arm keeps aggressive runners honest. Altherr’s primary position has been center field in the pro ranks, but he’s seen a considerable amount of innings in right and left field as well.
Altherr feels his brief exposure to big league life will help him in the long run, as he was able to see what players at that level go through on a daily basis to prepare for each game.
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