Bud Norris off to a strong start as an Oriole

orioles pitcher with leg extended holding glove after throwing pitch

Prior to last month’s non-waiver trade deadline the list of names linked to the Baltimore Orioles as possible trade targets was seemingly endless. While many clamored for a bat to upgrade the lineup, the consensus was that the starting rotation needed bolstering, even after the acquisition of Scott Feldman.

Jake Peavy was mentioned, but not too long after that came the $14.5 million he’s owed next year and how that wasn’t going to fit into the team’s financial plans. Matt Garza was considered an option because of his familiarity with the American League East. Ricky Nolasco was intriguing until the Marlins traded him Dodgers in early July, ending any thoughts of him in orange & black.

Perhaps the most consistent name to be connected with the O’s was Bud Norris of the Houston Astros. Sure enough – and conveniently enough – with Houston in town for a three-game series, the Orioles acquired Norris for minor leaguers L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader.

Norris’ history and track record isn’t that of former Cy Young winner Peavy or one-time American League Championship Series MVP Garza. But he was the guy the Orioles wanted, could afford, and the one Dan Duquette pulled the trigger for.

There were more than a few around Birdland who wondered what the fascination was with Bud Norris. A 4.33 career ERA in 118 starts with Houston, while not necessarily bad, doesn’t exactly scream “trade for him” in most cases. Neither does a 1.40 WHIP. The 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings is solid number, but gets offset a bit by 3.7 walks per nine.

The Astros apparently knew what they had beneath the numbers, which is why initially it was thought their asking price for Bud Norris was on the high side. Granted it’s still very early, but Orioles fans are starting to see why the Houston placed the value on Norris they did and why Baltimore wanted to pry him away.

In Norris’ first start as an Oriole he recorded a season-high eight strikeouts over six innings against his former team.

 

 

Through three starts Norris has pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 17 innings against the Astros, Padres, and Giants. He posted respective numbers of 3.93 and 1.41 through 21 starts this year with Houston. So far, Norris has held opponents to a more than respectable .238/.304/.413 slash line and stranded 88% of the base runners he’s allowed with Baltimore, according to Fan Graphs.

Having one of Major League Baseball’s best defenses (especially on the infield) behind you certainly helps considering Norris is now inducing ground balls at a 44% rate as opposed to 39% prior to being traded. He’s also upped his strikeout rate from 16.6% to 21.4%, while keeping his walk rate relatively the same (8.0% compared to 8.6%). When batters have made contact it hasn’t been solid all that often. They’re hitting line drives just 12.5% of the time, down significantly from 20.7% through his last start with the Astros on July 24.

The sample size with the Orioles is small and, based on his career numbers, a slight regression may be expected. But early results have been positive and I’ve even heard “Bud the Stud” around town in reference to the Birds’ new hurler.

That being said, Bud Norris will arguably make the most important starts of his career over the next month and a half as the Orioles push towards the postseason, increasing both the scrutiny that comes with bad performances and praise that accompanies good ones. More of the latter and less of the former may result in Norris’ new nickname sticking for a while since he’s potentially under the team’s control through 2015.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @GDixon410

Stats via Baseball Reference and pitch data courtesy of Fan Graphs.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Gordon Dixon. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gordon Dixon

Gordon Dixon
Born and raised in the Baltimore area, I've followed the Orioles for as long as I can remember. If I'm not at Oriole Park at Camden Yards I can probably be found in front of the television watching them on MASN. I've had the opportunity to contribute to various online...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Hot off the street

One Trade to Rule the A.L. East

The offseason is winding down, which is the time of year when Dan Duquette and the Orioles like to do their bargain shopping. While there are still names out there on the free agent market that could ...read more

Section 336 Episode 150: Kings of Tease

Today on the show, we are just 62 days till opening day, but has anyone seen our fifth starter? And since we can’t talk potential rotations with only four pitchers we will ask what the Orioles lineu...read more

Should the Orioles Trade for Andrew Cashner?

Spring Training is approaching fast and the Baltimore Orioles still need to figure out a way to upgrade their rotation. Dan Duquette seems firm on not losing the team’s first-round pick, meaning ...read more

The Orioles Have a Shot in the AL East

submitted by Michael Payne We've only just entered February, so right now there aren't a lot of predictions flying around for the MLB in 2016. There are a number of prominent free agents who are un...read more

Section 336 Episode 149 – Tattoos

Today on the show our Baltimore sports talk hits harder than Von Miller hitting a crying Tom Brady as we discuss all the recent stories like Manny Machado’s new tattoo, L.J. Hoes being DFA'd and the...read more

View More