Phillies: Checking in on the former Phils in the KBO
Some of the former Phillies in the KBO continue to play well
When there was no Phillies baseball many fans turned to the Korean Baseball Organization to get their baseball fill. Now that there’s baseball back in the United States, the attention given to the KBO has dried up among fans.
The Phillies had a large contingent of alumni playing in Korea this season, seeing five players go overseas this season.
One of the most notable was Aaron Altherr, who was let go by the Phillies last season after several changes to grab an everyday job. He’s played well in 70 games for the NC Dinos, who were in first place going into Friday’s games.
Altherr has hit .292 with 19 home runs and 13 stolen bases, but he’s struck out 79 times and walked just 18. In the KBO a .292 batting average isn’t fantastic, with more than 100 players hitting at least .313 with a minimum of 100 at-bats, but it’s a respectable average.
Altherr has played well enough that he will likely get a look from an MLB team next winter.
The former Phillies outfielder who is hitting at a miraculous rate is Hyun Soo Kim, who came to the Phillies in 2017 from Baltimore in the Jeremy Hellickson trade. Through 74 games Kim is hitting .348 with 16 home runs for the LG Twins, who are six games back of Altherr’s Dinos.
On the pitching side, Ben Lively has returned from a ruptured lateral muscle that sidelined him early in the season. He’s 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in his second season with the Samsung Lions, but it’s good to see him back on the mound.
Lively also recently made a bare-handed snag that you can watch on Twitter.
And with eight wins on the season, David Buchanan is one of the best pitchers in the KBO this season. Those eight wins are league’s third most this year and he’s struck out 60 batters in 15 starts for Samsung.
Joining Buchanan atop the KBO leaderboard is Dan Straily, who pitched for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs last season. The veteran righty has a 1.95 ERA, the best in the KBO among pitchers with at least 14 starts, and 107 strikeouts, the third-most in the league.
Hopefully, each of these guys gets a chance to come back to the US and pitch in the MLB again. They’ve each shown something in their game that says they belong with at least a AAA team, if not on a big league roster in some way next season.