Teams throw heat at prospect

Phillippe Aumont is slated to be picked in the first round of the MLB draft. (Sun File)

Phillippe Aumont is slated to be picked in the first round of the MLB draft. (Sun File)

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:42 PM ET

So, you want to be a first-round draft choice?

It's real easy.

All you have to do is throw 96 miles per hour, have the inner strength -- about the same as those guys walking on hot coals -- to throw strikes as 30 radar guns are pointed at you.

And you have to answer every question about your childhood, the good and bad days, long ago filed deep in your memory banks.

This has been the ride for Phillippe Aumont, which ends in three days.

The 6-foot-7, fire-balling, right-hander is expected to be selected in the first round of the annual draft of high schoolers and collegians on Thursday.

Aumont could go as early as fifth overall to the Baltimore Orioles, or he could go eighth to the Colorado Rockies.

Whichever team he winds up with, he is certain to go in the first round. When that happens he will be the first Quebec player to do so and only the fifth Canadian since 1985, when Canadians were included in the draft.

In all, Aumont has had 20 home visits and or meetings with major-league teams.

"I knew teams would get into details about my past and they really penetrated, which is okay," Aumont said. "I have nothing to hide."

Aumont has been peppered with questions in the same manner you see a senate appointee questioned south of border. A seven-figure signing bonus is on the line.

"A couple of teams grilled me on prior police contact and criminal stuff," Aumont said. "The only time I was ever in trouble was at age 11 or 12.

"I took a baseball glove and hid it under my shirt, because I wanted it so badly."

Aumont said the two guys he was with did the same, one scooping orange hockey balls, the other wood blades for his hockey stick.

"Canadian Tire store security stopped us before we left and called the police," Aumont said. "We were taken to the station and never charged. I was released to my dad, with a warning. I couldn't go in to the Canadian Tire store for one year after that.

"Not a proud day for me, I was very scared. That was the only time and that was it. A few teams wanted all details on this. One even had a local, ex-police officer attend to interview me.

"I understand. I would do the same thing if I worked for a team."

That was the single brush with the law for the Team Canada national junior star.

Did he ever use drugs?

"Drug use was a big area for teams, obviously," Aumont said. "They asked a lot of questions. I tried marijuana with friends when I was very young, and never really liked it. I did it for pressure reasons.

"Anyhow, I hate that stuff, and can't even stand the smell of cigarettes. I don't think any team I visited with had any concerns about this area for me. I hate smoking."

There have been odd ball questions on some of his 20 psychological tests.

How about this true or false question from a recent test.

"The youngest athlete I know is 85 years old."

"Obviously false," Aumont said rolling his eyes.

Did he wash behind his ears and floss?

Aumont has worked in front of scouts, cross-checkers, scouting directors and general managers. He remembers his best outing in the past two seasons as last summer when he faced Cuba in an exhibition game. He pitched five scoreless innings, setting down 11 in a row, allowing two hits.

Legendary Cuban pitcher Lazaro Valle watched the outing, walked over to Team Canada coach Greg Hamilton and said "That kid is a major-league pitcher, mucho bueno."

The only question which remains now, is which club?


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