The health of Tony Armas' right arm
is critical to the Nats' success.
Tony Armas’ Vitals
26-year-old right-handed starting pitcher, bats right, seventh season, 6-3, 225, career W-L 32-41, ERA 4.21
Perhaps the poster child for the recent Expos—great potential unseen due to a string of injuries.
Armas was shaping up to be a quality big-league pitcher in 2001-2002. After working his way into the regular rotation following his acquisition by the Expos as the “player to be named later” in the Pedro Martinez trade, Armas pitched better for the 68-94 Expos than his 9-14 record would indicate. He posted a 4.03 ERA and struck out nearly twice as many has he walked. The next year his ERA rose to 4.44 but his W-L improved to 12-12 (the team was also much better at 83-79). For the two years combined teams batted just .245 against Armas and he appeared to be on his way to a nice career.
After only five 2003 starts, however, he woke up with pain in his shoulder the day after allowing four home runs in a game in San Juan. That wiped out the rest of that season and, along with a line drive he took to the shin, kept him on the shelf for the beginning and end of last year.
When he was effective, he featured a mean 90 MPH sinking fastball, inducing a lot of meekly-hit ground balls, and had good command of a fastball, slider, and curve as well. He doesn’t have great control, throwing 14 wild pitches in his last full season and he throws 92 pitches a start despite the fact that his starts average less than 5 2/3 innings. Still, his K’s to walks for his career is 1.62, not a great number but not horrible, either.
If the name sounds familiar from the past, that’s because his father, also named Tony Armas, was a slugging outfield for the A’s and Red Sox who twice led the AL in home runs. Scouting reports often credit him with having great baseball instincts and, no doubt, his heredity had something to do with that.
The Nationals are hoping that Armas is past his arm problems and is able to eat up innings and throw a lot of inning-ending double plays and win a dozen or more games. Reports indicate that he’s fully recovered. That sounds like good news for the team, but most will wait until, say July before fully believing it.
2005 Down and Up
Downside: 2-4, 5.25 ERA, 85 IP
Upside: 16-12, 3.90 ERA, 200 IP
Note: Normally, injuries are not considered in “Down and Up”, but in Armas’ case his health is everything. Based on history, if he pitches he’ll be effective.
To find Tony Armas' career stats on Baseball-Reference.com, go to http://baseball-reference.com/a/armasto02.shtml