- 8) Daniel Norris – LHP – 2nd Round, 74th overall – 4/25/1993 (19)
Daniel Norris was widely considered to be the best left-handed prep pitchers in the 2011 draft because of his fastball with plus velocity and a power curve. He was considered quite the steal when the Jays managed to sign him out of the 2nd round for a significant amount less than his rumoured asking price. He was considered a Top 15 talent at the time that only dropped down because of his rumoured asking price.
He started his first professional season in 2012 in Extended Spring Training before being assigned to the Appalachian League’s Bluefield Blue Jays. Despite less than ideal performance in Rookie ball, Norris was moved up to the college-level Northwest League’s Vancouver Canadians. There Norris struggled in two starts with an ERA over 10 despite an FIP under 4. Norris is far too young to be worrying about his results against much older competition, but to say this season was a disappointment would not be a stretch.
Daniel Norris on his pitching arsenal:
I throw a 4-seam fastball that will usually sit around 92-95 getting up to 6 or 7, a two-seam fastball at 89-93, a change at 83-86, a slider at 83-85 and a curve at 71-74. I would have to say my ‘out’ pitch is my curve however all of them can be out pitches with good command. That goes for any pitcher.
Norris has all the makings of a future star if he can put these tools all together. However, thus far he has struggled with the two C’s: command and control. Look for him to work on both in 2013.
Norris is immensely talented and should eventually achieve results to match his raw stuff. While it would be nice to believe that Norris can fly up the prospect charts and into the Majors overnight, he is likely to take a few seasons to harness his potential and compete for a spot in Toronto.
It’s likely he will either return to Vancouver next year after Extended Spring Training or try his hand at full-season ball with the Lansing Lugnuts. He’ll be just 19 years old next year but if he makes Lansing in the Spring, then it would match the development path of 2010 high school draftees Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard. Norris needs to be stretched out much like his predecessors in Lansing this year so he will likely find himself being used in a piggy-backing at schedule to begin 2013.