Minor League Report: Phillippe Aumont
Right-hander impressive in first spring camp for Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners took a bit of a pitching hit when they sent three Minor League pitchers to the Orioles for left-hander Erik Bedard in the recent blockbuster trade.But the cupboard is far from empty. Thanks the plethora of arms selected in the past three First-Year Player Drafts, the Mariners are stocked with good, young arms -- none better than right-hander Phillippe Aumont, selected in the first round (11th overall) last June. But it took so long to get his name on a contract, the Mariners' farm system didn't reap the benefits of having one of the top pitchers beginning his pro career with one of their farm teams. Aumont, instead, pitched in the World Cup for Team Canada -- and won MVP honors. His first exposure to a Spring Training camp began on Feb. 14 during the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. The benefits of being with the Major League camp are numerous for Aumont, the only Draft selection last year that was invited to the big league camp this year. "He's going to be around big league players and see how they handle themselves," said Greg Hunter, the director of player personnel. "It also allows our Major League staff to become familiar with him, or at least have some familiarity when they are looking at reports and statistics throughout the season." Though some of the young pitchers in camp have some Major League experience, an improved starting rotation could make it difficult for someone like Ryan Feierabend, Eric O'Flaherty or Ryan Rowland-Smith to make the club out of Spring Training. Catchers galore: Patience seems to be the operative word for a stable of excellent catchers, starting with Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson. Both appear headed for the Minor Leagues at the outset of the regular season, as is Adam Moore, another young up-and-coming receiver. "We have some depth there," Hunter said, "but that can change rapidly if there's a trade or position changes. My feeling is you never have enough of anything, really." On the move: First impressions on Aumont were good. Manager John McLaren noted the size of easy delivery the youngster had during his first bullpen session. "He wasn't as polished as the kid from Vanderbilt that Tampa Bay took," McLaren said of No. 1 overall pick David Price. "But as far as upside, this kid hadn't thrown a lot. He's a big, strong kid; he's athletic."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.