Has Aaron Altherr already hit his ceiling with the Phillies?
One of the few surprises that came out of the Phillies last season was the early production from outfielder Aaron Altherr. Coming off wrist surgery the year prior Altherr had shown limited production in a rotational role.
Some of the Phillies offseason moves have suggested Altherr is not part of the future. The addition of Carlos Santana pushing Rhys Hoskins into left field eliminates an everyday job for Altherr, but the organization has made its case for keeping all their young outfielders.
Altherr’s stuttered production has made some belive he should be an everyday piece to the next core, while others see him as a role player.
To get a better idea of where Altherr’s production compares to others, we have three examples of players who have played for the Phillies. These numbers reflect only their time in Philadelphia.
Player A: 303 games, 197 hits, 35 HR, 193 K, 63 BB, .254 BA, .313 OBP
Player B: 205 games, 173 hits, 28 HR, 216 K, 71 BB, .243 BA, .326 OBP
Player C: 225 games, 136 hits 17 HR, 101 K, 52 BB, .259 BA, .332 OBP
Player B has done a lot in a little bit of time, but he’s struck out more times than Player A in 98 fewer games. His batting average is worse, but his other numbers are likely on pace.
Player C has a much higher batting average than the other two and has struck out 115 times less in more games than Player B in 20 more games. His on-base percentage should be valued compared to Players A and B.
Have your pick in mind? Here are the players behind the numbers.
Player A: John Mayberry Jr.
Player B: Aaron Altherr
Player C: Ben Francisco
Surprised? Altherr’s recent stretch of production drove his numbers up but his batting average was still surprisingly low. Injuries certainly played a key role in that, especially two years ago with the wrist surgery.
Considering the change of philosophy in the clubhouse and front office with focus honed in on player’s on-base percentage and the addition of Carlos Santana it’s clear the organization doesn’t see Altherr as anything more than a fourth outfielder. That’s completely fair considering Altherr’s inconsistent production and the rising talent around him.
I classify Alther as a Quadruple-A player; someone who doesn’t belong in the minor leagues but isn’t a polished major league player. He needs more playing time but there’s no room on a major league roster for him to get meaningful at-bats.
Alther turned 27 on Sunday and can still be a part of the team as they rise towards championship contention. He’s just not going to be a piece of the core when they compete. He can be the Eric Bruntlett or Ben Francisco for this team going forward, but he won’t be Shane Victorino either.