With the 11th pick in the first round pick, the M’s selected Philipee Aumont, an 18-year-old 6’7 RHP from Quebec. Here’s a video of Aumont from the MLB Scouting Bureau, and there’s a brief scouting report on him from the MLB.com draft tracker page.
He throws a 90-94 MPH fastball that has popped 96 at times, but unlike most prep pitchers, he already has a feel for the two-seam fastball and throws it with heavy sink. Pitching from a downward plane and pounding the bottom half of the strike zone, he’s got all the makings of being an extreme groundball pitcher, and you know how I love groundball pitchers. He also throws a slider and has toyed with a change-up, but both pitches are very raw and he doesn’t command either one particularly well. However, the slider has flashed good movement at times and has the potential to become an out-pitch with more work.
Aumont is extremely inexperienced, as he didn’t have a high school team to pitch for in Quebec. He traveled to showcases in the U.S. to pitch in front of scouts, and the M’s made sure to put a pair of eyes on him everytime they could. They saw Aumont more than any other team, logging tens of thousands of miles to watch him pitch at different events. In the end, they all fell in love. He was rated as the top prep pitching prospect on their board, even ahead of consensus #1 arm Rick Porcello. The team believes he has more upside than any pitcher in the draft due to his projectable frame and feel for the sinker at such a young age.
The popular comparison in recent weeks has been Kevin Brown, though that’s obviously a best case scenario, and putting those kind of expectations on any 18-year-old kid is unfair. However, as a perfect world comparison, it has some merit. That’s the kind of pitcher the M’s would love to see Aumont develop into. By request, here’s three potential career paths for Aumont (ignoring the injury and flameout possibility, which is there for every pitcher), based on his skillset and the careers of similar types of pitchers in the past:
Low End Upside: Aaron Cook, Jason Marquis
Middle Upside: Derek Lowe, Brad Penny
High Upside: Kevin Brown, Chris Carpenter
If you can’t tell, I love this pick. This is the guy I wanted all along, so if my opinion is worth anything (and that’s obviously up to you), then there’s reason for optimism. It was a stretch that he’d fall to #11, but when he did, the M’s had to abandon their pick-for-now philosophy and take the best arm on the board, and that was clearly Philippe Aumont. Welcome to Seattle, kid. We’re glad to have you.