Reds Go After Strong Arm in 3rd Round

Armstrong Played 3 Sports in High School

In this year's draft the Reds waited until the third round before selecting a high school pitcher. Their first one taken was right-hander Mark Armstrong out of the Buffalo area. He's considered a finesse pitcher with a biting curveball and potential to add velocity on his fastball.

In the third round of this year's draft Cincinnati selected their second high school prospect, right-handed pitcher Mark Armstrong out of Clarence (N.Y.) High School. The eighteen year-old stands 6'3"/200# and throws a fastball in the low 90's. He's a good athlete, also playing hockey and quarterbacking the football team while maintaining a 90% GPA in the classroom. Rawlings recognized him as a third team All-American.

He's certainly got a good last name for a pitcher, perhaps invoking memories of 1987 Reds first-rounder Jack Armstrong who had a superb beginning to the 1990 season and was chosen to start the All Star Game while helping the Reds to their last World Series Championship. Mark on the other hand is an intriguing prospect. First of all kids from the northeast typically don't get as much exposure as those in the south. He's considered more of a refined pitcher, throwing a sharp curveball and a changeup. His velocity sits in the low 90's, but many scouts believe there's potential to improve it based upon his physique and polished delivery.

Now that the Reds have selected him they will compete for his services with the University of Pittsburgh with whom he previously committed. He was also recruited by other Big East teams, North Carolina, and Vanderbilt. The recommended slot bonus for his draft position, 104th overall, is $496,000 and Cincinnati has a $6,046,700 bonus pool to use for their top ten picks. They drafted college players with their first two selections and could possibly save some money there that could be applied toward other picks.

Armstrong is not an overpowering pitcher and right now his value is more in anticipation of what he will become. Key will be improvement to his fastball and if successful he projects as having three legitimate offerings. Given recent history the Reds have been successful at signing their draftees and assuming they can reach an agreement Armstrong will likely begin his professional career in the Arizona Rookie League which is used more for younger players out of high school and foreign prospects.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds lost the rubber game of their home series against St. Louis by a score of 11-4. The contest was closer than the final tally because the Cardinals needed a tenth inning to put them away. Their bats came alive after regulation including a Matt Holiday grand slam. The Reds took an early lead from an RBI single from Brandon Phillips and a Jay Bruce sac fly. Later Bruce broke a tie with a two-run double in the fifth. He and Shin-soo Choo both had two of their team's six hits while Joey Votto reached safely with a single and two walks. Bronson Arroyo got no decision from a quality start, allowing only two runs in six innings. J.J.Hoover entered in the tenth and was charged with six runs and the loss in less than one inning pitched.

Roster update: Curtis Partch made his MLB debut Sunday and allowed a run in mop-up duty at the end of the Cardinal tenth-inning rally. He replaced Logan Ondrusek who was optioned to Louisville after putting up a mid-five ERA in 21 outings. The 26 year-old Partch began his season at Pensacola and had a 3.74 ERA at Louisville after a promotion earlier this season. Also Pedro Villarreal was optioned back to Louisville and Henry Rodriguez recalled giving the Reds an extra bat off the bench until Johnny Cueto's spot comes around again in the rotation.

Louisville won their second game in a home series against Durham by a score of 5-1. Greg Reynolds kept rolling and picked up the win by limiting the Bulls to one run on six hits across eight innings. He's now 7-0 with a 2.51 ERA on the season. Kevin Whelan entered with two runners on base in the ninth and tossed a scoreless inning for the save. Louisville tied the game in the fourth inning when Felix Perez hit an RBI-single. They went ahead in the sixth from a two-run double by Denis Phipps. Emmanuel Burriss added a couple of insurance runs with a two-run single in the eighth. Phipps led his team with two hits while Perez, Josh Fellhauer, and Mike Hessman each reached safely twice with a hit and walk.

Pensacola's game at Mississippi was suspended by rain in the fourth inning with the Wahoos holding a 4-1 lead. It is scheduled to resume Monday.

Bakersfield allowed a run in the ninth and lost 5-4 to visiting Lake Elsinore. The Blaze took an early lead in the first when Juan Perez led off with a double and scored on a Marques Smith single. Juan Duran and David Vidal added another run when they led off the next inning with back-to-back doubles. After falling behind in the fourth Smith tied the game the next inning with a two-run homer. Duran had three of his team's nine hits and walked once while Smith added two hits with three RBI. Vidal reached safely twice with a hit and walk. James Allen got the start and opened with three scoreless frames before allowing four runs (three earned) in the fourth and got no decision after allowing six hits in five innings. Kyle McMyne relieved him with two scoreless innings before Kyle Lotzker entered to begin the eight and allowed the game winner in the ninth for the loss.

Dayton lost their lead when they allowed three runs in the eighth inning in a 5-3 loss at Fort Wayne. Three stolen bases and a couple of Tin Cap throwing errors gave the Dragons a couple of runs in the sixth and Zach Vincej added on with an RBI-double in the eighth. Vincej, Brandon Dailey, and Beau Amaral each had two of the eight Dayton hits. Vincej also reached safely with a couple of walks and Amaral drew one free pass. Nick Travieso got the start and allowed two runs (one earned) while scattering seven hits across five innings for no decision. Tony Amezcua relieved him with two scoreless frames before Wand Peralta allowed the game-winner for the loss.

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