Philadelphia Phillies Prospect Countdown #11: Aaron Altherr
DOB: 1/14/1991 – ETA: 2016
Position: OF – Bats: RH
Picked: 9th Round, 2009 Draft
Altherr is yet another example of the classic Phillies’ outfield prospect profile: tall, athletic, toolsy, and just a bit too lanky. See: Domonic Brown, Anthony Hewitt, Cord Sandberg, John Mayberry, et al.
In his age 22 season with High-A Clearwater, Altherr had the best season of his professional career, and has since been protected on the Phillies’ 40-man roster. He’s shown a current ability to play CF with decent range, and an average arm. With a .792 OPS, along with leading the Florida State League in doubles (36), some decent power (11 HR) and displaying great speed (23 SBs), he displayed a small-scale version of his potential big-league upside.
The eventual filling-out of his frame could result in a little more home run potential in the majors.
Although he showed a lot of promise in 2013, he was also plagued with the strikeout bug that nags a lot of these toolsy outfielders. He ranked third in the FSL with 140 Ks in 123 games. Additionally, his 2013 BAbip of .360 is significantly higher than career average – we could expect to see some drop in average in 2014 if that corrects.
While adding weight could add some power, it could also strip some of his range and speed – in essence, forcing a relocation to a corner OF spot.
A player hitting 15+ HR/15+ SB at CF would be a probable everyday regular. A player providing the same production from the corner (with marginal center field ability) is more of a 4th outfielder on a good team.
Ideally, Altherr maintains his athleticism and reaches his potential as an above-average everyday regular. More likely is that he becomes tantamount to Mayberry with additional speed, and less glaring platoon splits. He won’t hit for high average, but he’ll have a decent amount of power and can play all three OF positions from the bench, when needed.
Altherr is one of the safer prospects to make it to the majors, in one form or another – the reserve OF role looks to be his floor at this point. His progress in Reading will be one of the more exciting stat lines to read everyday.