- Full name Antonio Jose Armas
- Born 04/29/1978 in Puerto Piritu, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/16/1999
Organization Prospect Rankings
Background: Aside from being the son of former two-time American League home run champ Tony Armas, the younger Armas also received what was, in 1994, the largest signing bonus in Venezuelan history ($140,000) from the Yankees. He was dealt by the Yankees to the Red Sox in 1997 in a pennant-drive trade for Mike Stanley. Then he came to Montreal with Carl Pavano four months later in the Pedro Martinez deal. Double-A Eastern League managers pegged Armas as the league's top pitching prospect. He made his big league debut in August but the Expos shut him down with a tired arm as a precautionary measure; he had pitched in the Venezuelan League the previous winter. Strengths: While Armas has good raw stuff, his poise and maturity make him exceptional. He pitches like he has 10 years of big league experience. Armas uses a balanced, easy delivery and hides the ball effectively from hitters without looking unnatural. He looks like he's throwing a casual game of catch, but his fastball comes out at 91-94 mph with good sinking and boring life. His effortless delivery enables Armas to have precise command of his pitches, especially his fastball. A key difference in his arsenal in 1999 was switching from a curveball to a slider as his primary breaking pitch. A solid changeup gives him three quality pitches. Weaknesses: Though his slider could be an above-average pitch, some in the organization don't want Armas to give up on his curveball yet. He switched because he altered his delivery when throwing the curveball, which not only tipped hitters to the pitch but also affected his fastball. The timing of such tinkering, for a young pitcher on the cusp of a big league job, could jeopardize his chance of opening the 2000 season in the big leagues. The Future: The Expos realize the hazards of bringing young pitchers to Montreal straight from Double-A before they are ready. The organization would like to avoid doing that with Armas. The Expos are hoping five other starters win jobs outright in spring training and allow Armas to get some more seasoning at Triple-A Ottawa before he enters the rotation.
Background: Armas is the son of former power-hitting outfielder Tony Armas, one of the most beloved players in Venezuelan history. The younger Armas was originally signed by the Yankees as one of the first Venezuelans to top the $100,000 bonus barrier. He's been traded twice since. Strengths: Armas presents the whole package as a pitcher. He throws a low 90s fastball, a plus changeup and a promising curveball--all for strikes. On the mound, he has a composed confidence that is a product of his baseball background. Weaknesses: For the most part, Armas just needs to fine-tune his skills. His curveball needs the most work of his three pitches. The Expos also feel he has room to get stronger. The Future: Barely out of his teens, Armas likely will start 1999 in Double-A. Given his talent and maturity, it would surprise no one in Montreal to see him move to the big leagues without any setbacks.
Minor League Top Prospects
Armas was traded twice before he was 20, in deals that sent DH Mike Stanley from the Yankees to the Red Sox and Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez from the Expos to the Red Sox. There was a reason for this: Everybody wanted Armas. This season Armas, the son of former American League power hitter Tony Armas, was among the EL's most dominant pitchers before he was shut down for the final week with a tired arm. At one point, Armas had thrown 24 straight scoreless innings, a streak interrupted by a brief trip to the majors. "You don't get a whole lot of good swings off of him," Varsho said.