ESPN is airing Korean Baseball league games on ESPN 2 during the overnight hours. The Korean league features 3 ex-Phillies including former outfielder Aaron Altherr, outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim and pitcher Ben Lively. So if you miss watching baseball, if you’re a night owl, or you miss watching forgotten Phillies from the rebuilding years the KBO is for you.
Aaron Altherr flashed potential early on in his Major League career with the Phillies. He was a great athlete who displayed exceptional ability to drive the baseball, but he never progressed in his time in Philly.
He peaked as a Phillie in 2017. In 107 games he batted .272, hit 19 homers and knocked in 65 runs. he entered the 2018 season battling for a starting outfield spot but struggled the entire season as he hit just .181 in 105 games for the Phillies.
He was released from the team in 2019 after his failure to produce and he was picked up by division rival New York Mets. He batted just .129 in 26 games for the Mets and for now that looks to be the end of his Major League Career.
Team To Watch: Altherr is a member of the NC Dinos
The Phillies acquired Hyun-Soo Kim at the 2017 trade deadline in a deal that sent Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles. Kim was a throw in, not a main piece of the deal so the 2017 Phillies could fill out their roster without calling up a young prospect.
In 40 games with the Phillies in 2017, Kim batted .230 with 0 homers and 4 runs batted in, it was the last time Kim played in the Major Leagues. The 2017 Phillies had many forgettable players and Hyun-Soo Kim might be the leader of the pack.
An interesting side note on Kim is that he has been playing in the KBO since 2006, he did not play in 2016-’17 because of the time he spent in America in the majors. Kim is now officially in his 13th season in the KBO and has had a very solid career batting .321 lifetime with 174 homers and 957 runs batted in over his career.
KBO Team To Watch: LG Twins
On New Years eve in 2014 the Phillies traded right fielder Marlon Byrd to the Cincinnati Reds for starting pitcher Ben Lively. At the time, Lively had some potential to be a back end of the rotation guy once he was developed, but he never turned into anything in his short term on the Phillies.
In 2 seasons with the Phillies, Lively appeared in just 20 games. He was not terrible in his rookie season in 2017, in 15 starts he posted a 4-7 record with a 4.26 ERA in 88+ innings. But he failed to build off that decent rookie season, making just 5 starts for the Phillies in 2018, posting a 6.85 ERA.
He ended up appearing for the Kansas City Royals in 6 games over the course of two seasons as he may have pitched his last inning in the Major Leagues last season. He appeared in just one game last season.
KBO Team to Watch: Samsung Lions