Aaron Altherr has quietly been on the best all-around players for the Phillies this season. But, is it time for fantasy owners to move in and make him a waiver wire add?
The Phillies have gotten off to a mediocre start this season, but one of the bright spots for the club has been Aaron Altherr. The uber-talented Altherr is not only one of the best producers on the team right now, but he is one of the hotter hitters on the waiver wire. But, is he worth an add?
There are those players that just look the part. Aaron Altherr fits that bill as he stands in at 6’5 and 215 pounds. He has the raw athleticism to be a star in the outfield and in the league, but things just have not come all together in one season. So far in 2017 though, this appears as the close Altherr has been to showing his true talent.
Altherr made the rounds in fantasy circles last season as a potential sleeper, but that quickly faded when he injured his wrist and was never fully healthy over only 57 games last season. The Phillies made a ton of moves in the offseason, but the additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders appeared to send Altherr into a fourth OF type of role entering 2017.
Unfortunately, Kendrick suffered an oblique injury in early April, which has opened the door for Altherr to step in and start. All he has done is impress with his defense and bat, posting a .333/3 HR/11 RBI/3 SB/1.012 OPS line over 21 games. Most of his damage has come over the last two weeks as well, as he posted 13 hits and has notched seven of his 11 RBI over that span.
In the minors, Altherr never had any monster season, but he was a career .263 hitter and had four seasons of 10+ HR/10+ SB. Whenever a player has a hot start like Altherr has, one always wants to see tangible evidence of what may have spurred the success. For him, it appears to be an offseason swing change that saw him drop his hand to allow for more bat speed.
The change seems to be evident as he already has 20 hits, with half of them being for extra bases. The K rate is still too high, 27%, but he is making contact at a career-best 76% clip.
The Phillies ‘ lineup is not terrible and playing in Citizen’s Bank certainly helps his power numbers. The AVG will come down, nothing in his batted profile speaks to that high of an AVG and his .436 BABIP has to drop.
But, the speed and power combo is legitimate while he is in the lineup and healthy. His batted ball profile looks solid too. The 43% GB rate is a little too high, but he offsets that with 29% LD, 36% Med and 41% Hard contact rates. He is certainly squaring the ball up this season.
Kendrick is still fighting through the oblique issue. But, the Phillies are at the point where they have to see what they have with Altherr as he is 26-years-old now. Kendrick’s versatility would allow him to move around the diamond, so as long as Altherr keeps hitting he will find playing time.
Aaron Altherr looks the part and has the tools to flourish. He is in a solid situation, hot right now and his swing change looks to be working. Fantasy owners should be all over him off the waiver wire as there is potential for him to be a breakout player this season.