On Monday, the West Coast League commissioner, Rob Neyer, announced Bellingham Bells pitcher Justin Armbruester was presented with the Moss Adams Pitcher of the Week.
Armbruester is the second player on the first-place Bellingham (16-6) roster to take home POW honors, and the first pitcher to receive the award for the Bells in the 2018 summer. Jordan Stoner was the first to take home the Player of the Week award, following his performance in the first week of the season.
“The recognition is really nice. I know a lot of us on the team, we have a lot of good pitchers, and a lot of it goes unrecognized,” Armbruester said. “To be recognized as Pitcher of the Week is big. It’s a big thing in general, just to be recognized is really nice.”
In the week of June 18-24, the tall righty allowed just one hit in two relief appearances, striking out eight of the 21 batters he faced.
Jordan Stoner took home the West Coast League Player of the Week after his dominant hitting performance in the season-opening series against the Kelowna Falcons.
Bellingham’s left fielder tallied eight hits in 11 at-bats, including a dominant 5-for-5 performance in game two of the road series. Stoner hit .727, scoring four times, swiping two bags, and driving in three runs in Bellingham’s first two games.
With both players playing such a vital role for Bellingham, the two could very well be in line for more accolades, something Armbruester said has certainly crossed his mind. The sophomore out of Pacific Lutheran University said he is already eyeing the next award.
With a league-low 0.46 ERA in five appearances and a West Coast League high of 32 strikeouts in just 19.1 innings pitch, the six-foot four-inch right-hander is well on his way to be credited with another accolade, especially with the all-star game right around the corner.
“I’m really just kind of going out there and trying to fill up the zone and not do anything special,” he said. “For me, it’s just staying back and working on my mechanics and filling up the zone and I guess I’m really having success because I’m just trusting the process and just going at guys and letting them get themselves out.”
Both Armbruester and Stoner are enjoying early success before the half-way point of the year. Stoner is hitting .307 with three homeruns, 11 RBI, seven walks, and 27 hits in just 21 games.
“It’s an honor. Getting that honor is awesome,” Stoner said. “You work so hard to get it, but to be able to get some wins for my guys is huge.”
The two players both take approaches of envisioning success and going out with confidence. Armbruester said he has always been a pitcher who would challenge batters, instead of trying to pitch around them.
“I’m never afraid to face anyone,” he said. “I’ll kind of just go at them with my three pitches and like if you hit it, you hit it, good for you, but I’m going to show you what I’ve got and I’m going to give it my best every time.”
Stoner has quickly become an easy fan-favorite with hustle plays in the outfield and on the base paths. Though Bells fans have yet to see Armbruester pitch in Bellingham, they will surely get a glimpse of the Sammamish, Wash. native in its upcoming six-game homestand in the first week of July.