Phillies news: 5 former players set for overseas KBO season

Ben Lively #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Ben Lively #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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Several former Phillies outfielders and pitchers are set to begin their regular season overseas as part of the Korea Baseball Organization.

While the 2020 Major League Baseball season is on hold, professional baseball is well underway overseas in Taiwan, and soon, too, in Korea when the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) regular season begins on May 5.

Several former Philadelphia Phillies players over the past decade, including two outfielders and three right-handed pitchers, are now gearing up to try to revitalize their careers in the 10-team Korean league.

1. Aaron Altherr, OF — KBO Team: NC Dinos

Aaron Altherr #23 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Drafted by the Phillies in the ninth round of the 2009 Draft out of Agua Fria High School in Arizona, outfielder Aaron Altherr would go on to play in parts of six seasons in the majors.

Coming off of an 0-for-5 first season in 2014, ranked as a Top-10 prospect in the organization, the Germany native returned to the majors the following year and shined with extra-base power.  Through 137 at-bats, Altherr collected 33 hits, nearly half of which were either doubles (11) or home runs (5) combined.

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After that, Altherr’s career largely was uneventful, outside of him being the first ever to hit a grand slam off of future Hall of Fame left-hander Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers in September 2017.

Over his next 318 games and four seasons, from 2016 to 2019, Altherr slashed just .216/.304/.389 with 43 doubles, 32 home runs, 128 RBI, 94 walks and 289 strikeouts spanning 990 plate appearances.

This past season, Altherr collected just one hit across 30 plate appearances, resulting in the Phillies placing him on waivers; he would be selected by the San Francisco Giants. After just one game, Altherr hit the waiver wire again and was selected by the New York Mets, where he produced four hits over 35 plate appearances, 15 of which he struck out. Combined in 2019, he went just 5-for-61.

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This past November, the 29-year-old inked a deal to play overseas in the KBO for a $200,00 signing bonus and $800,000 salary.

Early on, he looked like a promising outfield prospect, but ended up just in a platoon and eventual bench role for the Phillies. If successful in Korea, Altherr could find himself returning to the majors similar to fellow former Phillie Darin Ruf‘s comeback with the Giants.