Name: Phillippe Aumont
DOB: 1/7/89 (23 as of April 1, 2012)
Weight: 220 lbs
Drafted: 1st round, 2007 (by Seattle, $1,900,000 bonus)
Acquired: via trade from Seattle (with Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez for Cliff Lee), 12/16/09
Pre Draft Report: Baseball America ranked Phillippe Aumont the 15th best prospect in the draft (9th best pitcher) leading up to the 2007 draft. The pitchers ranked ahead of him have been hit-or-miss thus far ranging from definite successes like David Price and Madison Bumgarner to injury-plagued like Jarrod Parker and Ross Detwiler to question marks like Daniel Moskos. (Coincidentally, Blake Beavan, who was also traded for Cliff Lee, ranked 13th overall.) This is what BA had to say about Aumont:
Canada’s national baseball program is well organized, and it is beginning to bear more fruit. The physically imposing Aumont–6-foot-7 and 225 pounds–is the country’s best prospect since Adam Loewen. Aumont made a name for himself when he appeared in a high school all-star game in Cape Cod and the East Coast Showcase last summer. He made an impressive showing against the Tigers’ extended spring training squad in April, touching 96 mph from a low three-quarters arm slot that can be devastating for righthanded hitters. Aumont flashes an occasionally plus slider at 80-82, though his arm slot makes it difficult for him to stay on top of the pitch. His velocity has vacillated during the spring, and his mechanics are raw, but he’s athletic and has pitched well in front of a handful of scouting directors and should be drafted among the top 20 picks. Aumont now lives with guardians, and while he is reluctant to discuss his parents or his past with the media, he has been forthcoming with teams that are interested in him as a potential first-rounder.
Aumont’s stock really started to rise during the summer of 2006 when he was sitting at 89-92 at the Cape Cod High School Classic, then touched 96 against Cuba in international competition that fall. By spring training 2007, he was pitching in front of 50 scout during a Florida tour by his Canadian team, and followed that up with a highly attended workout at the Rogers Centre that April.
Baseball Prospectus’ Draft Notebook had this to say:
Aumont has been spending time in Florida, putting on a show for scouts that has seen his draft stock move into the stratosphere. Aumont’s size (six-foot-seven) and arm strength (he touched 98 mph a couple of weeks ago) is unmatched among high school arms, though he’s a bit raw. “He’s very big, he’s up to 96-97 mph with plus life,” praised one scouting director. “The sky is really the limit with him-I can see why teams are excited about him.”
However, Kevin Goldman at BP labeled him one of the Top 3 Fallers the day before the draft, writing “Aumont seems to be many team’s Plan B, but few teams’ top target”, although his final mock draft that year had Aumont going at #15 as “at “15, a high-ceiling pitcher like Aumont is just too good to pass up”.
Aumont signed for a slightly above slot $1.9MM, which represented the 12th largest bonus in the ’07 draft. He signed too late to pitch, but Seattle did put him on a five-day rotation schedule in the instructional league that fall.
Career Synopsis: Aumont entered 2008 as BA’s #83 prospect in baseball, but he was limited in his first pro season, pitching just 56 innings (15 G, 8 GS) for Wisconsin in the Midwest League. Seattle opted to err on the side of caution when he developed elbow soreness, but when healthy, he was effective, pitching to a 2.75 ERA allowing just 46 hits, 19 walks, and 4 HR while striking out 50 and holding opponents to a .224 average. Following the season, he was ranked 8th among MWL prospects. At that time, his commanding mound presence, sinking fastball, and a cross-bodied delivery were noted as strengths, although it was also noted that his delivery made it difficult to stay on top of his still-developing curveball.
Heading into 2009, Aumont fell to #93 in BA’s preseason rankings and was also converted into a reliever by Seattle, which figured it was a faster path to the majors and would also be less stressful on his elbow. Aumont’s first meaningful relief work occurred in the WBC, where he got Canada out of a bases loaded, no-out jam against the United States. Reports from both BA and BP were now projecting him as a big league closer. His first taste of closing was at Hi-A High Desert where he converted 12 of 14 saves and held opponents to a .195 average and struck out better than a batter an inning. BA ranked him 5th among California League prospects after the season. He was promoted to AA (at age 20) where he struggled a bit due to 11 BBs in 18 IP and finished his AA stint with a 5.09 ERA. He also missed the final three weeks of the season after breaking his left hand punching his locker.
2010 brought more changes as he was dealt by Seattle to the Phils in the Cliff Lee deal and the Phils subsequently moved him back into a starting role, and did so with Reading. BA still had him rated #93 among all prospects when the season started and John Sickles graded him a B-. Aumont’s time at Reading did not go well, as he pitched to a 7.43 ERA in 11 starts. Again, walks were a major culprit as he issued 38 free passes in just 49.2 innings. Of equal concern, his strikeout rate plummeted from roughly 10 K / 9 IP during the previous two seasons to under 7 K / 9 IP, and his K/BB ratio was even, falling from better than 2.5 over his first two seasons. Phillies Assistant GM Chuck Lamar admitted the aggressive move to AA while converting him to a starter was “a mistake” and Aumont was demoted to Clearwater in early June. He pitched better there, both starting and relieving, as his K rate rose back up to over 9 and his K / BB ratio moved back up towards 2.
After the 2010 season ended, Aumont pitched for Canada in the 2011 Pan Am Qualifiers. In his most noteworthy outing, he dominated the always strong Cuban squad allowing a run on three hits and striking out seven over five innings.
Aumont was sent to Reading’s bullpen to start 2011. He responded with one of the best stretches of his career, compiling a 41/11 K/BB ratio over 31 innings while holding opponents to a .198 batting average and throwing twice as many ground balls to fly balls. He finished the season at AAA and found success there as well. He struck out 37 while walking 14 in 22.2 innings and didn’t allow a home run in his time in Allentown.
Heading into 2011, Aumont has rebounded to #5 on BA’s Phillies prospect list, while John Sickels has him at # 7.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Aumont’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Arm Strength: 60/70
Summary: Aumont’s raw arm strength is still plus, even with his inconsistency, but if he gets back to where he was mechanically, his 93-96 mph fastball with heavy sink would make the pitch well above average. His control and command are both below average now because of the inconsistency of his overall stuff. His mechanics were a mess in 2010, and its unclear which direction he’s going. With his height and the moving parts in his delivery, it will be something he will always have to work hard at. He’s dealt with a number of injuries since turning pro, though he remained healthy in 2010. His curveball is above average, his changeup is below average, hence the average rating overall.
Upside: At this time last year, we noted that 2011 was a linchpin season for him and that he’d likely profile as a power reliever. His season couldn’t have gone any better. He still has a plus four-seamer, as well as the heavy two-seamer that allows him to throw a lot of ground balls and limit homers. The signing of Papelbon has likely put an end to immediate speculation of Aumont as the Phils’ closer, but Aumont goes into 2012 firmly in the Phillies plans and it’s likely he gets his first taste of the bigs some time before September.
A slow motion video of Aumont from 2009. Notice the slight hitch in his delivery as his front side opens up and his arm drags slightly. The Phillies tried to get him to go back to his older motion, which had him throwing from a lower arm slot and generating more movement on his fastball. You can kind of see the crossfire nature of his delivery in this video from 2009
Mechanically, Aumont has been all over the place, and it will be interesting to see what happens with his delivery and development going forward.
2011: May 9th, 2011
Profile updated: 29 December 2011