PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 23: Relief pitcher Phillippe Aumont #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on August 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Here at Philthy Stuff we'll be taking a look at the 2013 Phillies and what we can expect from each and every player in the upcoming season as we head towards Spring Training. Next up, Phillippe Aumont.
One of the high points of the 2012 season, for me, was watching Phillippe Aumont get called upon in the late innings for a relief appearance. Middle relievers don't typically move the needle too much, but then again, middle relievers aren't typically the most exciting players on the field.
Such was the case for the 6'7” Aumont, who, at times, was literally the only thing on the baseball diamond worth watching in 2012. Aside from Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee, there might not have been a player who was more fun to watch whenever he was put into the game. For better or worse, Aumont did not disappoint when he took the hill, mostly because you weren't sure if he was going to walk a guy on four straight pitches or strike out the side thanks to a wicked combination of a blistering fastball and a knee-buckling breaking pitch.
Usually, it was one or the other, as evidenced by this 5.5 BB/9 and 8.6 K/9 over 14 innings last season with the big club, to go along with a 3.68 ERA and two saves. That lack of control plus an ability to strike out ever batter that steps into the box is pretty much his modus operandi ever since he started pitching in relief in the minor leagues.
Aumont, who appears to be the only decent piece to come from the Cliff Lee-to-Seattle trade, could be among the most dominant relievers in the game, if not for that pesky lack of control. But at 24, he's young and pliable enough to be able to get over those issues and take the next step to manhandling hitters when he toes the rubber.
The question, then, is whether or not he can do that. It's not likely that he could reverse the course that he's been on in his entire career, but I suppose it's possible. If Kyle Kendrick can turn himself into a useful starter, then Phillippe Aumont can cut his walks in half.
The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are stocked with young, cheap, and dynamic relief pitchers at the back of their bullpens, and if the Phillies want to keep pace, they'll need to follow suit. The Phillies are already set up to have a good bullpen, but the emergence of Aumont can make it a great one.