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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

Canadian Reliever Could Play Big Role In Philadelphia’s Bullpen

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Off-season acquisitions are usually a sign that a team is looking to upgrade their roster based on another player’s talent. For the Philadelphia Phillies, their bullpen acquisition has opened the door for success from a younger talent on the roster.

Phillippe Aumont was drafted in 2007 by the Seattle Mariners and was one of the prospects that was included in the Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay trade from a couple of years back. Aumont, who turned twenty-four earlier this month, had spent five seasons in the minor leagues.

When he was acquired by Philadelphia, he spent time between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading for the 2010 season. Aumont struggled in his first season with the Phillies organization finishing with a 3-11 record and a 5.68 ERA in 21 starts.

In 2011, Aumont made his way up from Double-A to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Aumont’s ascension through the minor leagues was due to his transition into the bullpen.

2011 was a special year for Aumont, and it was by far his best year of professional baseball. While splitting time between the two farm teams, Aumont finished with a record of 2-5, but had a 2.68 ERA while appearing in 43 games, finishing 30 of them. He also recorded 78 strikeouts in his 53.2 innings of work.

Aumont was called up last season to help an ailing bullpen that had seen its share of injuries throughout the year.

The six-foot, seven-inch Canadian right-hander performed exceptionally well in his 14.2 innings of work. In his 18 appearances, Aumont finished with an 0-1 record and a 3.68 ERA. He did, however, finish three games, saving two of them, and striking out 14 batters.

Getting appearances and experience in the MLB was not the cause for concern for Aumont. The problem for the former-first round pick was his control.

Aumont would continually put runners on base due to the lacking consistency of his pitches. In 14.2 innings of work, Aumont walked nine batters. This number should be a red flag for Phillies fans. Walks will kill a team late in ball games, especially if the walks are to the lead-off batter in the inning.

Aumont has a very good chance of making the 2013 Opening Day roster for the Phillies. Most of which is due to the recent acquisition of Mike Adams via free agency.

The Phillies bullpen struggled mightily in 2012, despite a consistent season from closer Jonathan Papelbon. Young minor-league players such as Justin De Fratus, Michael Schwimmer, Jake Diekman, and Jeremy Horst were called up and put in bad situations due to injuries to players like Michael Stutes and the inconsistency of players like Chad Qualls, who was eventually traded.

The acquisition of Adams, who will likely take over eighth inning duties, opens up the opportunity for Aumont to pitch in the sixth or seventh inning. Pitching earlier in a ball game takes more pressure off of a pitcher, especially with the handful of young arms that the Phillies have.

Look for Aumont to start the season pitching in the seventh inning along with Bastardo. Despite some struggles, which every young pitcher will have, Aumont will gain experience that could help him become a dependable and consistent reliever that Charlie Manuel could count on time and time again.

 

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant SportsFollow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.