Player Review/Preview: Phillippe Aumont
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Key 2013 Statistics:
1-3 W-L, 4.19 ERA, 19 1/3 IP, 13 BB, 19 SO
1.914 WHIP, 6.1 BB/9, 8.8 SO/9
Phillippe Aumont is your classic baseball enigma. The kid with the million dollar arm who doesn’t have a clue where the ball is heading. One batter will get a knee-buckling slider on the outer edge. The next will get a 98-mph heater hurtling over the helmet and toward the screen. Pitching coaches get pink slips over guys of his ilk. But, if the switch ever gets turned on – watch out.
Aumont followed up a promising 2012 with an extremely frustrating 2013. It all started in Clearwater – the inability to throw strikes on a consistent basis. That was followed by a trip to Triple-A. He was able to repeat his delivery down there which helped him keep his control issues to a minimum. Once he got the call to join the Phillies, the inability to throw pitches over the plate suddenly resurfaced. The numbers reinforce the point. Allowing nearly two base runners per inning do not bode well for a pitcher aspiring to be a late-inning fireman. Sure he averaged almost a strikeout per inning. But when a pitcher, especially a reliever, allows eleven hits and six walks per nine innings – well, that is not exactly a good thing.
It got to the point that Aumont went from a seventh and eighth inning option to a mop-up role. He may have even been spotted on the side of a milk carton in September.
Aumont will be in camp next February simply because he has all of the tools to be a late-inning star. Maybe the new pitching coach – whoever that may be – can finally break through and help him conquer his control demons once-and-for-all. Aumont lives and dies by his explosive fastball. But if he cannot command it, then hitters will simply lay off the slider – which is a devastating pitch when he is able to throw his fastball for strikes.
Manager Ryne Sandberg and the pitching coach will give him a good, long look in Spring Training. He could wind up anywhere next season – from being the setup man with the Phillies to pitching in relative, fifth inning, relief obscurity with the Iron Pigs.