Aaron Altherr came into this season as a player who’s place on this Phillies team was seemingly unsettled. He is a player that has never been amongst the most talked-about prospects in the Phillies organization, but yet, he’s looked like the best of the bunch so far. With the injury to Phillies new left fielder Howie Kendrick in April, Altherr went from being the 4th outfielder behind Kendrick, Herrera, and Saunders, to getting almost regular playing time at all 3 outfield positions.
To say the 26-year-old outfielder has taken advantage of his tick up in playing time would be an understatement. He has seemed to come out of nowhere as the hottest bat on this Phillies team.
As of this writing, Altherr’s batting average sits at .338 in 65 at-bats so far this season, with 4 home runs, 14 RBI, and 3 stolen bases to show for it.
From April 16th to April 26th, Altherr went 12-28 at the plate with 1 home run, 4 RBI, 2 walks and 2 steals. Once the calendar turned to May, Altherr kept up his tear, and so far in the month he has a hit in every game he has played, sitting at a .429 average through 7 games with 2 home runs, 8 RBI, 7 walks and a stolen base. Of his 22 hits so far this season, 11 of those are for extra bases. There is no question that Altherr has been the best thing going so far for this team at the plate.
Not only has his bat caught people’s attention, but he has been great in the outfield. He has made a handful of highlight reel-worthy plays, and he has yet to make an error on 42 recorded chances. The most impressive part of his defense so far is that it has come at all 3 positions in the outfield. For anyone that knows the game, they know that it’s not as easy as some might think when it comes to bouncing around the outfield from one spot to another. The fact that he has played flawless defense at all 3 spots makes his start that much more incredible.
Aaron Altherr has been a blessing so far for a Phillies team that currently sits at 4th place in the NL East with a 13-17 record. Although it doesn’t look good on the surface, the Phillies are 8-6 at home so far this year, where they will start a 2-game interleague series with the Mariners tomorrow. 6 of those 17 losses came in the recent brutal road trip against arguably the best 2 teams in the NL, the Cubs and Dodgers, while 5 of those losses have come against the current best team in the NL by record, the division rival Washington Nationals. Basically, other than the 3 best teams in their league, they’ve only lost 6 games.
All told, it hasn’t been that bad of a start for this young Phillies team, and the red hot Altherr is a big reason why.
It will be interesting to see exactly what happens with this roster once Kendrick comes off the DL. There have been rumblings of Kendrick possibly playing some at first base, meaning that the Phillies might decide to put him there and reduce the playing time of the slow starting Tommy Joseph, while inserting Altherr as the every day left fielder. They could also take away some playing time from Michael Saunders in right field, allowing Altherr to hone his craft at that spot.
It’s not clear exactly what the Phillies will do here, but one other thing definitely is clear. Aaron Altherr deserves to be in the lineup, and he deserves to be in this team’s plans for the foreseeable future.
Oh yeah, and he’s totally my new man crush. I am genuinely sad when he’s not in the lineup. It has gotten to that point. Make me happy, Pete. Play him as much as possible. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Photo: Bryan Green (Via: Flickr)
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