Kris Armstrong has made an impact on the Commodores’ lineup from the time he arrived on the Cape. The first baseman has been raking through his first 12 games, posting a .268 batting average and going yard four times. He has also driven in nine runs during his time with Falmouth.
Assistant coach Ryan Ihle said that he is pleased with Armstrong’s early contributions to the club.
“He made an impact pretty much straight away,” Ihle said “He swings the bat and he’s a really talented individual, so he’s been a big pickup.”
Armstrong grew up in Jupiter, Florida, where he was introduced to the game of baseball by his father, MLB All-Star Jack Armstrong. His dad compiled a solid professional career, in which he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Florida Marlins. The right-hander also has a ring on his resume, winning the 1990 World Series with the Reds.
Armstrong said that his father has played an integral role in helping him reach this level in his baseball career.
“Most of my family has been influential but I think my dad has been there every step of the way,” Armstrong said. “From Little League up until now, he’s always been my mentor and my guidance off the field.”
The switch-hitter began his pursuit of reaching this level of success at The Benjamin School. During his time in high school, he opened eyes by recording a .408 batting average with 28 RBIs in just 28 games.
Armstrong also stood out from the crowd by being a two-way player, spending time on the mound in high school. As a hurler, he logged a dominant 1.79 ERA and struck out 65 batters in his senior season. He is also an ambidextrous pitcher, further adding to his versatility.
These credentials helped earn Armstrong a spot on the baseball team at the University of Florida. He said that he was drawn to the university by its opportunities both on the field and in the classroom.
“The academics are second to none, we’re top five in the country in public schools,” Armstrong said. “And then, the athletic program is awesome as well. And they gave me an opportunity in the beginning to hit and pitch.”
Armstrong is currently entering his fourth year with the Gators. The switch-pitcher appeared on the mound in nine games during his freshman year but then opted to focus solely on hitting.
Armstrong has impressed at the plate during his collegiate career, posting a .284 batting average with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. The first baseman has also been outstanding on the defensive side of the ball, recording a .981 fielding percentage during the 2021 season.
He has also excelled in the classroom, being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll from 2019-2021.
These statistics helped the Florida Gator land a spot on the Commodores’ roster, this summer. Armstrong said that he is grateful for the chance to compete on the Cape, particularly because his father and brother also played in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
“It’s my first summer, my dad and my brother went through the same thing here,” Armstrong said. “They played for different teams but [I’m] fortunate to be a part of this program and help them win and do everything we can to make it to playoffs.”
Learn more about Kris Armstrong
Tommy Mumau: What’s your hometown?
Kris Armstrong: Jupiter, Florida.
TM: Do you have a nickname?
KA: At school, they call me Clydesdale.
TM: What’s been the highlight of your baseball career up to this point?
KA: Signing with UF was awesome, it’s a big part of my career. But to be honest, hitting two home runs in one game [in Brewster] with Falmouth was pretty awesome. That’s definitely a highlight of my career to this point.
TM: How would you describe your style of play to those that might not be as familiar with you?
KA: So, I think in the past few years, it’s been a lot about my power. I would call myself an athlete still, I’m not slow by any means. I move well, but I think my power is definitely the highlight of my play.
TM: If you had to compare yourself to a major leaguer today or a former player, who would it be?
KA: To be honest I love Chipper Jones, being a switch-hitting power guy. Definitely, someone that I want to model my swings after and my play after
TM: What’s your favorite sport that isn’t baseball?
KA: Believe it or not I love playing tennis. My brother and I, we will battle it out at home and play some matches and we really enjoy it. And it’s great cardio and it’s fun to play.
TM: Who’s your favorite non-baseball athlete?
KA: I got to say Dustin Poirier. He’s been like a new favorite of mine. I did like Conor McGregor for a while, but Poirier’s a class and he’s doing all the right things.
TM: Did you watch the fight the other day?
KA: I did, it was a little sad because I like McGregor but at the same time Poirier’s a great fighter and a good guy.
TM: Who’s your favorite baseball team?
KA: I have not had a favorite baseball team for a while, to be honest. When I was younger, I did like the Boston Red Sox, but I’m not really partial to any team right now.
TM: What’s your favorite food?
KA: Sushi, I love sushi.
TM: How about your favorite movie?
KA: The Natural, it’s a very old baseball movie with Robert Redford. That’s one of my favorites, my dad and I will sit down and watch that on repeat
TM: How about your favorite TV show?
KA: The Office was a big one of mine for a while. Unfortunately, it’s off of Netflix. But I’ve watched that probably 10 times through.
TM: How about your favorite musical artist?
KA: I got to go with either Luke Combs or Brett Young. Probably Luke Combs right now, he’s really killing it and he’s got a lot of big hits out there.
TM: What are your goals for this summer on the Cape?
KA: I obviously want to win here, and I kind of just want to prove myself to everyone watching. Just that I can play a really good first base and I’m very versatile, and from both sides, I’m able to do what I know I’m capable of.
Note: Featured image by Meghan Murphy.
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Tommy Mumau can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tommymumau13.