10 June 2015

Bud Norris' 2nd (and Much Better) Norfolk Rehabilitation Start

Previously in Camden Depot, I reported on Bud Norris' first minor-league rehabilitation start, with the AAA Norfolk Tides. He did not achieve the results he (presumably) wanted. His second minor-league rehabilitation start was with the AA Bowie Baysox, and then he returned to Norfolk for a third start. He was originally scheduled to pitch on June 2, but that game was postponed by rain and wet grounds to a doubleheader the next day. Norris made the start in Game 1 of the doubleheader, and I was working as a BIS scorer for that doubleheader. Thus, I got to see Norris' start from the top row of lower-deck seats in Harbor Park (under the overhang of the concourse roof, avoiding the threat of rain.)

As I did in the earlier post, I will simply review every opposing Gwinnett Brave at-bat and follow up with some general observations. I will preface this by saying that after this outing, it shouldn't have been too surprising that Norris was substantially more effective in his June 7 Orioles start.

First Inning

Batter 1: Eury Perez -- Called Strike, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strikout (Swinging)

Batter 2: Jose Peraza - Foul, Called Strike, Ball, Ground Out to Shortstop

On the 1-2 pitch, Peraza hit a sharp one-hop grounder right at Paul Janish, who gloved it and made a strong throw to first base.

Batter 3: Cedric Hunter - Ball, Foul, Fly Out to Right Fielder

On the 1-1 pitch, Hunter hit a pop fly to shallow right-center, behind the second baseman. Right fielder Chris Parmelee called off Rey Navarro and made the catch, running toward the infield.

Second Inning

Batter 4: Adonis Garcia - Ball, Foul, Ground Out to Shortstop

On the 1-1 pitch, Garcia hit a ground ball into the hole between third and short. The ball wasn't hit very hard, so Janish was able to get to the ball, plant, and make an accurate throw to retire Garcia.

Batter 5: Ryan Lavarnway - Foul, Called Strike, Foul, Ground Out to Pitcher

On the 0-2 pitch, Lavarnway hit a ground ball right back to Norris on the pitcher's mound. He fielded the ball and made the easy throw to first base.

Batter 6: Sean Kazmar - Called Strike, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Line Out to Third Baseman

On the 2-2 pitch, Kazmar hit a hard line drive to the left of third Michael Almanzar. Almanzar took one step to his left and caught the ball in the webbing of his glove.

Third Inning

Batter 7: Wil Nieves - Called Strike, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Pop Out to Second Baseman

On the 3-2 pitch, Nieves hit a pop fly behind second baseman Navarro. Navarro took a couple of steps toward first base and camped under the fly, which he caught.

Batter 8: Daniel Castro - Called Strike, Ground Out to Second Baseman

On the 0-1 pitch, Castro hit a routine grounder one or two steps to the left of second Navarro. He was easily able to pick the ball up and throw Castro out at first.

Batter 9: Mycal Jones - Called Strike, Swinging Strike, Ball, Ball, Ball, Walk

Norris got ahead of Jones 0-2 and then missed with four straight pitches.

Batter 10: Perez - Ball, Called Strike, Ball, Foul Tip, Ball, Ground Out to Second Baseman

We were getting concerned that Norris was running out of steam when he surrendered his second three-ball count, but Perez hit a routine ground ball to Navarro. With Jones running on the pitch, Navarro had to throw to first to retire Perez.

Fourth Inning

Batter 11: Peraza - Called Strike, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ground Out to Shortstop

On the 1-2 pitch, Peraza hit a routine ground ball right at Janish, who threw Peraza out at first base.

Batter 12: Hunter - Called Strike, Ball, Ground Out First Base to Pitcher

On the 1-1 pitch, Hunter hit a slow ground ball to first baseman Christian Walker. Walker fielded it and threw to Norris covering.

Batter 13: Garcia - Swinging Strike, Called Strike, Ball, Ball, Strikeout (swinging)

Michael Bowden relieved Norris to start the fifth inning. 

  • The game was played in unfavorable hitting conditions, a cool breezy evening with an occasional burst of rain. Also, Gwinnett has a team OPS of .654; while Rochester, Norris' opponent in his first start, has a team OPS of .712.
  • Obviously, Norris pitched much better in this start than he did in his first start. Gwinnett hit two balls hard off him, but neither had much loft and both were hit at fielders. The most notable difference is that no balls were hit deep to the outfield, and few balls were hit in the air. There was the one hard line drive that Almanzar caught; and two pop flies that Navarro could have caught (although Parmelee called him off one.)
  • It seems likely that the key to Norris' success is whether or not he can generate ground balls, or perhaps more precisely whether or not he can avoid generating fly balls. I don't know whether his success in this start was because Gwinnett has no power (17 total home runs, .337 team slugging percentage) or because Norris pitched better.
  • Norris doesn't seem to be a pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff. He did generate twice as many swinging strikes in this game as he did in his first game - but that was still only four. 
  • As bad a Norris was in his first rehab start (2.2  12 9 9 0 1, game score -1), his opponent on June 2, Chien-Ming Wang, was worse (3 11 10 10 4 0, game score -7).
In this start, we saw hope for Bud Norris, hope that was at least partially fulfilled in his June 7 start. It seems clear that Norris won't be anything more than an adequate innings-eater, at least in 2015 - his stuff just isn't good enough. 


Philip said...

How much is "adequate innings eater" worth?
We have a risk of giving him a QO and having him accept it, or not giving it to him and losing him to another team for considerably less than the QO.
Do we want to keep him at all?
( BTW do we know what the QO will be?)
I like Bud and would be happy to keep him, if the price is good...

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I doubt the Orioles extend Bud Norris the qualifying offer, but it's possible. Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, and Matt Wieters are much better bets. I think the Orioles let Norris walk. Kevin Gausman needs to be in the rotation next year, and at the very least Dylan Bundy has to be on the 25-man roster (in relief, most likely), if he's healthy. Mike Wright will also be in the discussion for starts, along with Tyler Wilson.

This past year the qualifying offer was around $15 million, so probably in the area of $16 million next season.