Saturday, June 20, 2009

Aumont gets an aggressive promotion

(And there is a bit of a bromance going on with Tyson Gillies, all of a sudden.)

There's been an urge to write a Phillippe Aumont post for a while now, since he is halfway through his first season as a reliever. Well, wouldn't you know, the Hull native whom the Seattle Mariners are sweet on making their closer has been promoted to Double-A ball. At the age of 20. This is baseball-nerd brain candy.

U.S.S. Mariner can better explain how Aumont has done this far as a closer (click below the jump):
"So, what have we learned about our ‘07 first-round pick in the past few months? Aumont struggled out of the gate, with some mediocre command marring his April performances and leaving him with a 9/6 K/BB in 10.1 innings. This improved significantly to a 16/2 in 14.1 May innings, but it was coupled with a few more of his hits leaving the park. In June, his performances were more towards the middle; his control wasn’t quite as good, but his home run rate wasn’t quite as bad and hitters were having some difficulty making contact off of him. It would seem that he’s been in the process of adjusting back and forth over the past few months in response to what’s happening around him, which is definitely a good sign."
Aumont started this season in the California League ("High-A" ball) with the High Desert Mavericks. He had 12 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 29 appearances, with 35 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings and a measly .197 opponents' batting average.

There will always be an element of the road less travelled as long as the Mariners keep Aumont in a reliever's role. He made it to the Futures Game (the minor-league all-star game held two nights before the MLB All-Star Game) held at Yankee Stadium last year, but he missed it due to elbow problems. The Mariners' thinking might be that a 6-foot-7 pitcher who throws darts has the countenance of a closer.

Meantime, there is big stuff going on with the sundry Canadians in Seattle's system. Outfielder Michael Saunders might get called up from Tacoma to play left now that Endy Chavez might be done for the season with a knee injury. (It's either Saunders or put Ken Griffey Jr. in the field.) Erik Bedard should be back in 10 days to two weeks.

The Mariners also have another B.C. ballplayer, 20-year-old centrefielder Tyson Gillies, a line-drive machine who played youth baseball with the Langley Blaze and is legally deaf.

Gillies is on-basing .442 (third in the Cal League) for High Desert and has nine triples, tied for most in the league. The temptation is to compare him with Curtis Pride, the one-time Ottawa Lynx who was legally deaf and had a long career as a quadruple-A outfielder.

Gillies might be the classic toolsy outfielder (he's fast and comes advertised as having a great arm), but the question will be if he'll hit for enough power to progress in baseball. A lot of guys can put up a sick OBP in the lower minors. Gillies has more triples than doubles (9-8). Prospects guru John Sickels did not have him among his top 20 Mariners prospects coming into the season. Still, when you consider the disadvantage of being legally deaf, you have to root for him.

Aumont joins Diamond Jaxx (Jay Yencich, U.S.S. Mariner)

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