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Mark Armstrong began his 2015 season with the Dayton Dragons on April 10th, pitching out of the bullpen in his first outing. He tossed 2.0 shutout innings with three strikeouts. It would be his only relief outing of the year. He took the mound as a starter four days later and allowed two runs in 5.0 innings against South Bend. On the 19th things were a bit more of a struggle. The righty allowed just three runs over 5.0 innings, but gave up 10 hits along the way with six strikeouts. In his final start of April he allowed an earned run in 5.1 innings with a walk and five strikeouts. In 17.1 total innings he posted a 3.12 ERA to go along with just two walks and 15 strikeouts.
May began with 6.0 shutout frames in Great Lakes with five strikeouts on the 1st. That was followed up by another 6.0 inning start, this time allowing just one earned run with a walk and three strikeouts. On the 12th Armstrong ran into some problems against the Loons as he allowed three runs on 10 hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. Lake County also scored three runs off of him the next time out as he covered 5.0 innings. The Clarence Center, New York native rebounded well, allowing just three runs over his final two starts of May that spanned 12.0 combined innings with nine strikeouts. The right hander threw 33.2 innings in the month with a 2.67 ERA, 10 walks and 24 strikeouts.
June seemed to get out to a solid start for Mark Armstrong, who had allowed two runs in 5.2 innings, but in the 6th inning of his first start of the month strained his elbow and had to exit the game. He wouldn’t pitch again until June 30th when he took on Great Lakes, allowing just two runs in 5.0 innings. On July 5th he would take the mound again, lasting just 3.0 innings and allowing three runs on six hits. It would be his last start of the year, eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Mark Armstrong Scouting Report
Fastball | The pitch shows some sinking action in the low 90’s and will usually top out around 94.
Curveball | When it is at it’s best it’s an above-average offering with nice 12-6 breaking action.
Change Up | It’s a below-average offering that he didn’t use too often during the 2015 season.
For the most part, Armstrong showed good control throughout the season and he’s had that profile in his short professional career. He pounds the bottom of the strikezone most of the time with his fastball, but he isn’t afraid to elevate the pitch when needed. While he was unable to match his groundball rate from 2014, his 52% rate in 2015 was still well above-average.
Recovering from Tommy John surgery seems like an easy thing these days, and it’s certainly a lot more common for guys to come back from at 100% of their former selves than it used to be. But, there’s still plenty of risk involved with coming back from having your elbow rebuilt. Before the injury, Armstrong showed two quality offerings and good control at a young age. He may not pitch again until the 2017 season, though a late 2016 return is possible.