Aaron Altherr, 2017
One of just 10 German-born players to appear in MLB this century, Aaron Altherr was a late draft pick by the Phillies in 2009 who worked his way up slowly through the system before making his debut in the middle of the 2014 season, playing in a pair of games. He'd get some spotty MLB looks over the next two seasons while missing some time with injuries; then he saw playing time right from the start in 2017.
Bumping between all three outfield positions, Altherr got extremely hot in May, hitting .300 with six home runs and 22 RBI for the month. He was inconsistent for the rest of the campaign and missed a few weeks with another injury, but the end results were pretty decent: .272 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI.
It was enough to afford him everyday at-bats for 2018, but he struggled mightily, slipped into a reserve role, and was demoted when he was hitting just .171 in late July. Altherr resurfaced for the final month of the season but, aside from a two-homer, five-RBI game, did nothing at the plate to inspire any confidence.
For some reason, Altherr hung onto a roster spot to start 2019, but the Phillies finally cut him loose after he went 1-for-29 over the first month-plus. The Giants claimed him, he played one game for them, then he was cut again and claimed by the Mets. He'd yo-yo between the big club and Triple-A for the rest of the year, became a free agent after the season, and never made it back to the majors.
Altherr was like an even more extreme version of John Mayberry, Jr., who you may have expected to see on this list as well. But we left Mayberry off since we recently covered him in celebration of his 40th birthday. For a brief time, the Phillies looked like they had a real player in Altherr, but aside from part of that 2017 season, he just wasn't major-league material.
Altherr is still kicking around baseball, though, even winning a championship in Korea with the NC Dinos in 2020. Altherr had opportunities in Philadelphia; he just couldn't take advantage of them.