After only eight at-bats in spring training, Aaron Altherr's season may be in jeopardy. While diving for a ball in the outfield, Altherr twisted his wrist and the damage was extensive enough that the Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder will undergo surgery. According to initial reports from Todd Zolecki -- Phillies beat writer for MLB.com -- Altherr will be out for the next four to six months.
Aaron Altherr to have left wrist surgery tomorrow. He will be out 4-6 MONTHS.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 8, 2016
In his 161 plate appearances last season, Altherr dazzled with a 124 wRC+ and .353 wOBA. With a BABIP of .301, it appeared Altherr's prowess wasn't the result of some luck. While progressing quickly through the Phillies' minor league system, it's impressive that Altherr not only lived up to but exceeded those expectations. The 25-year old was taken in the ninth round of the 2009 draft.
Altherr represented some hope for a Phillies club that likely won't be competitive this season. Along with Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vincent Velasquez, the Phillies have an abundance of youth for a rebuild. And that doesn't include their top prospects, J.P. Crawford, Jake Thomson, Nick Williams, Mark Appel, Cornelius Randolph, and Jorge Alfaro who are all in MLB.com's top 100 prospects.
For a hitter, wrist surgery can be an awfully worrying scenario. Mark Teixeira missed time in 2013 due to wrist surgery and didn't resurface as the same hitter until this past season. Wil Myers also had wrist problems and has seen his power decline ever since. Altherr is young and will hopefully bounce back, but expecting any meaningful production this season could be out of the question.
Altherr's injury will likely open up more playing time, but for who is still to-be-determined over the course of spring training. Some of it could go to Cody Asche, who lost his job at third base last season to Franco. 23-year old Tyler Goeddel could also break camp as the starting left fielder. In his 18 at-bats this spring, Goeddel has only struck out once and slashed .333/.400/.667. Outfield prospect Nick Williams is a bit of a dark horse candidate, but has struck out in five of his 13 spring at-bats.