Last Wednesday, Wednesday the 19th, I found myself settling into my left field seats at Citizens Bank Park just moments before the first pitch of the game. Instead of seeing a familiar name on the back of the left fielder’s uniform I saw the name Altherr. I had heard of the name before, but nonetheless I was very surprised to see Aaron Altherr in a Philadelphia uniform – I had no idea that he was in consideration for recall to Philadelphia.
The young Altherr looked a little jittery in left as he prepared for the first pitch with his arms and legs moved actively in anticipation for the first pitch. The youngster did not have to wait long at all to get some action as the first pitched was lined by Troy Tulowitzi to the right of Altherr who cleanly fielded the ball, but let the jitters get the best of him as he launched the ball over Cesar Hernandez’s glove at second base. Fortunately, Altherr was able to quickly redeem himself after the second batter popped a ball to deep left, and Altherr easily camped under it for the first out of the game.
It was evident that at this point Aaron Altherr was settled in. In his first at bat of the evening, with a runner in scoring position, Altherr stepped to the plate, and he ripped a double to left field to score a run. He was not done yet though. In the fifth inning, Altherr stepped to the plate again with a runner on base. This time the young left fielder was able to get a hold of the pitch, and he sent it just over the fence in his own left field. By the end of the game, Aaron Altherr had accumulated his first hit, his first RBI’s, his first double, and his first homerun.
It seemed as though more youthful excitement had entered the confines of Citizens Bank Park, but do we all really know who this new left fielder is?
Aaron Altherr was born in Germany into an already athletically and physically inclined family; his father being a former professional soccer player in Germany, and his mother being a part of the United States Armed Forces. Although born in Germany, Altherr went to high school in Arizona where his athletic abilities shined on the baseball field and on the basketball court. Out of high school he was offered many different D1 basketball scholarships, but his love of baseball prevailed as he committed to the University of Arizona to play baseball.
However, instead of taking his talents to the college ball field, the Phillies picked Altherr in the ninth round of the 2009 Amateur draft, and he decided instead to try his luck in the minor leagues.
In the beginning of his minor league career, Aaron found himself being called up and being sent back down within the lower levels of the Phillies’ minor league system. And, after a few years of hovering in the lower levels of the Phillies’ organization, Altherr found himself on the German national baseball team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Following the completion of the World Baseball Classic Aaron Altherr began to make strides in Reading.
In his stint in Reading in 2014, Altherr had 492 plate appearances where he averaged .236, hit 14 homeruns, hit 27 doubles, and drove in 57 RBIs. After going on a hot streak in the beginning months of the season in Reading, Altherr found himself prematurely called up to Philadelphia. However, his time in Philadelphia was brief in 2014 as he was quickly sent back down to Reading after only five plate appearances.
Altherr’s major league appearance and his performance in Reading in 2014 did not prove to be enough as he found himself in Reading yet again at the onset of the 2015 season. Yet, quickly he began to prove himself as he was called up to Lehigh Valley halfway through the season. Over his short span in Lehigh Valley, Altherr really began to show his potential as he had a batting average of .294, hit 13 doubles, 8 homeruns, and drove in 38 runs in just 51 games.
After a topsy-turvy minor league career, the Philadelphia Phillies finally believed that Aaron Altherr was ready for the Show. On August 18, 2015 Aaron Altherr was yet again recalled to Philadelphia, and it is now that we can only hope that Altherr becomes a big part of the future in Philadelphia.