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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scouting Bud Norris Again

Mets faced this youngster 10 days ago, so not much else has changed. His stats are updated.

The 25-year old Norris is barely 6'0" and has been described as "chunky". He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 draft and made a great debut last year for Astros, going 6-3 in 10 starts, and striking out 54 in 55 2/3 innings. His last four starts in September, he allowed 4 runs in 23 innings, while striking out 24 and only walking 6. He threw 7 innings on August 19th to get the win versus the Mets, allowing 2 runs and only 4 base-runners. He threw a season-high 123 pitches.

Norris works quickly, and despite his diminutive size, he can get his fastball up to 96 mph; it averages 94 mph and he adds and subtracts on his fastball frequently (89-96 mph), also changing his arm angle. He throws his slider 36% of the time (87 with good tilt) and a fringe change-up (86 mph 10% of the time). He throws his slider > 45% of the time with two strikes, and it's his best pitch. He threw a plus curve in the minors, but it has been replaced by the slider. He also has a good pick-off move.

This year Norris is 6-7 in 20 starts (112 2/3 innings), with a 5.03 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He gets a ton of swing and misses (11.3%), but he also only throws strikes 45% of the time, resulting in a high walk rate (3.9 W/9). He is striking out 9.7 per 9. He's a fly-ball pitcher and has been prone to the long ball (13 in 99 innings). His BAPIP is due to regress to the mean (.350), and he has a low strand rate (62%), so if FIP is a lot better than his ERA (4.06). He's won his last 4 decisions, and has gone 6+ innings the past 7 starts. He was good in his last start versus the Phillies, getting a no-decision after throwing 6 innings, allowing 1 run, on 5 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 4.

He's ranked #2 in the Astros 25 and under talent pool, but that's not saying much. He is a middle of the rotation starter that may be destined to the bullpen if his body can't handle the stresses of starting every 5th day (elbow trouble sidelined him in 2008).

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