Splitsville: Jason Armstrong (v1.1)

"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Blue Jays prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Jason Armstrong we'll look at a variety of "splits" from his 2005 season with the Lansing Lugnuts and examine his play in more detail.

Jason Armstrong was perhaps the unlikely story of the 2005 season. Very few expected anything from the infielder, but his determination to succeed earned him a starting spot after the first months of the season and he became one of the most reliable and consistent players for the Lansing Lugnuts. In 155 games this season Armstrong hit .289 with sixty-three runs scored, twenty doubles and fifty-two runs batted in.

Better on the Road: Armstrong played better on the road during the 2005 season. He played two more games on the road, but had thirty more at bats on the road. In sixty road games he hit .315 with thirty-two runs scored, twelve doubles and twenty-two runs batted in. Although the infielder hit for a better average on the road, he hit more percentage of doubles and drove in eight more runs in less at bats at home.

Made His Case in April: Armstrong began the season as a role player and was not penciled into the starting lineup. However the 23-year-old made it extremely hard for the coaching staff to continue to sit him as he proved he can play every chance he received. Playing in only thirteen games during April Armstrong hit .371 (13-25) with twelve runs scored and seven runs batted in. Armstrong continued his success into June were he hit .337 (35-104) in twenty-four games, and during the month of August he hit .333 (34-102) with twenty-four games.

Versatile Infielder: In order to get his bat in the lineup, Armstrong played three positions on the infield. Armstrong played mostly shortstop in college but would end up playing the majority of the time at third base, a position he did not play since high school. In 337 at bats as a third baseman Armstrong hit .273. He also had fifty-four at bats as a shortstop but struggled at the plate batting just .222. His best hitting came as a second baseman as Armstrong hit .414 in eighty-seven at bats.

Show Me the Lefties: The right-hand hitting Armstrong had a field day against opposing left-hand pitchers. Armstrong hit .378 off southpaws during the 2005 season.

Leadoff Hitter? Armstrong does not possess lots of power but will make contact with the ball many times, and will rarely strike out. However, the leadoff position for Armstrong is a little surprising since he is not your prototypical leadoff hitter. The infielder played ninety games as the leadoff hitter and hit .281 (112-398) with forty-three runs scored and twenty-one walks. Armstrong played just two games in the second and cleanup hole and seven games in the sixth spot going .294 (5-17). Nine of his games came in the seventh spot and he hit .361 (13-36) and in four games in the ninth spot, Armstrong hit 6-for-14.

Clutch Hitter: Armstrong hit .438 with the bases loaded this past season, getting a hit in seven of his sixteen at bats. Armstrong also had success with runners on base as he batted .313 (61-195).

Coaches Quote: "Jason Armstrong didn't get an opportunity to play that much last year in Auburn, but came up here as a utility guy and forced his way into the lineup."
-Ken Joyce: Lansing Lugnuts 2004 Manager

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