Aaron Altherr

KBO: Three former Giants players to watch right now with MLB on hold

KBO: Three former Giants players to watch right now with MLB on hold

Baseball is back.

It might not have been the Opening Day that MLB fans expected, but baseball fans everywhere stayed up into the late Monday night hours and into early Tuesday morning to watch the Korea Baseball Organization, the highest level of baseball in South Korea. 

With ESPN broadcasting KBO games, fans can get their baseball fix back. That includes watching three former Giants players, too. 

They aren't household names in San Francisco and certainly didn't have long careers for the Giants. However, these three certainly are Forever Giants. In reality, they fit the moniker/internet joke perfectly.

Casey Kelly, RHP, LG Twins

The former top prospect never panned out in the majors. He twice was named the San Diego Padres No. 1 prospect by Baseball America and once was as high as No. 2 for the Boston Red Sox.

But Kelly, now 30 years old, has just a 2-11 record with a 5.14 ERA in 26 big league appearances. His most success, though, came with the Giants two years ago. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Giants signed Kelly to a minor league contract in February 2018. After going 10-9 for Triple-A Sacramento, Kelly appeared in seven games for San Francisco. He went 0-3 with only a 3.04 ERA over three starts and four relief appearances.

Kelly now is the ace of the LG Twins. The veteran right-hander made his KBO debut last season where he had a 14-12 record and 2.55 ERA. 

Jae-gyun Hwang, 3B, KT Wiz

The Giants signed the power-hitting infielder to a minor league deal before the 2017 season after he hit 27 homers for the Lotte Giants the year before. Hwang didn't find as much success for the San Francisco Giants.

Hwang hit .285 with 10 homers in Triple-A Sacramento before making his MLB debut. He only lasted 18 games in the bigs, where he hit .154 with one long ball and five RBI.

After his short stint in San Francisco, Hwang signed with the KT Wiz in the KBO. He's hit 25 and 20 homers in the last two seasons, respectively.

Aaron Altherr, OF, NC Dinos

Ahh, the legend of Aaron Altherr. Like Kelly, he too was a former top prospect who didn't find much success in the big leagues. The power-hitting outfielder twice ranked among the Philadelphia Phillies' top 10 prospects. 

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Altherr had a lowly .219 career batting average with 37 home runs before signing with the Dinos. He was their No. 2 hitter on Opening Day and twice flied out to the warning track. 

We'll never forget his Giants career, though. After being selected off waivers from the Phillies last season, here's his final stat line in San Francisco: One game, one at-bat, one strikeout. 

Forever Giant.

Giants roster turnover in 2019 was historic, but led to some keepers


Giants roster turnover in 2019 was historic, but led to some keepers

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Giants fans think of 2019, many may remember Connor Joe and Michael Reed as Opening Day starters. 

But will you recall that Tyler Austin got 130 at-bats? Or that Scooter Gennett and Yangervis Solarte combined for 49 appearances? How about Corban Joseph's 17 times up at the plate, or Nick Vincent's day as the opener?

It was a season of experimentation, and that's kind of what was expected when Farhan Zaidi took over last November. He talked right away of trying to find incremental gains from every corner of the roster and giving players the runway to prove they were big leaguers. That all led to some historic roster manipulation, though.

The Giants ended up using 64 different players, which was second in MLB history to only the 2019 Mariners (67). They shattered their previous franchise record of 51 players used by the 1990 team and used 15 more players than the 2017 squad that lost 98 games and was in a constant search for answers. 

The amazing thing about all this is that the Giants were actually tied with the Reds for the fewest injured list days in the National League, so they weren't trying to fill holes for that reason. They were simply looking for contributors and to bolster their big league and Triple-A rosters, which led to some short stints in San Francisco:

--- Only four Giants got more than 500 plate appearances, but 15 different players got at least 100. The tier below is where there were really some random 2019 Giants. Gennett, Joey Rickard, Yangervis Solarte and Gerardo Parra are among the players who got between 50 and 100 plate appearances for this team. 

--- Eight different position players took the field but got fewer than 25 total plate appearances: Cristhian Adames, Chris Shaw, Joseph, Zach Green, Joe, Abiatal Avelino (what a costly run through a stop sign that was), Reed and one more outfielder we'll get to shortly. 

--- The Giants had 33 different players throw a pitch, including Pablo Sandoval, who led the team in ERA (0.00). Familiar faces Ray Black and Ty Blach made two appearances apiece, the same number as Pat Venditte, the first player to sign a big-league deal under Zaidi. 

--- Twelve different pitchers made a start. The 2017 Giants had just seven starters. 

--- The most interesting line of the year, as mentioned above: Outfielder Aaron Altherr was claimed off waivers, struck out in one at-bat, and then got DFA'd again. He ended up batting .129 for the Mets. 

--- There were so many guys to come through the door, but all that churn led to some keepers. Mike Yastrzemski broke through and should be a starter next year. Donovan Solano and Alex Dickerson should have roles, too. None of them were with the Giants on Opening Day.

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There were plenty of new or young pitchers who showed enough to be in the mix next season, including Trevor Gott, Sam Coonrod, Jandel Gustave, Tyler Rogers, Wandy Peralta and Enderson Franco. 

Giving guys an opportunity led to some strange roster moves but paid off in the long run. 

Giants won't get chance to work with Aaron Altherr after waiver claim


Giants won't get chance to work with Aaron Altherr after waiver claim

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Aaron Altherr Era is officially over.

Altherr was claimed by the New York Mets on Thursday, joining his third team in a couple of weeks and leaving the Giants a bit disappointed that they didn't get to work with a player they liked. Altherr had just one at-bat -- a strikeout -- in four games before he was designated for assignment on Sunday, but the Giants hoped to get him through waivers and take a look at him in Triple-A. 

"We were hoping we would have him in our system and get him some at-bats," manager Bruce Bochy said. "For him, the little I got to know him, you pull for these guys to be in the big leagues, so good for him. The Mets obviously see him the way we saw him, as a guy with tremendous potential.

Altherr, 28, had a huge 2017 season but regressed after that. Still, the Giants liked the bat enough that they were willing to take on the $1 million left on his deal to let Altherr try to get right in Triple-A before getting an audition in the big leagues. The Mets, in desperate need of outfield help, decided to take on the contract and stick Altherr in the big leagues. 

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Don't feel too bad for Altherr for all the movement. He's a Phoenix resident and got to spend a weekend at home with the Giants before finding out his next destination.