American League Rookie of the Year Candidates
One of a half dozen rookies expected to open camp with the Blue Jays, lefty Daniel Norris will be one of two in Toronto’s starting rotation at the beginning of the season. Currently most famous for living in a van during the off-season, Norris is one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the game.
He began the 2014 season with High Class-A Dunedin of the Florida State League, and dominated to the tune of a 6-0 record and 1.22 ERA with 76 walks in 66.1 innings across 13 starts. That performance earned Norris a promotion to Double-A, where he struck out 49 hitters in 35.2 innings before being sent to Triple-A Buffalo. After just five starts with the Bisons, Norris earned a September call-up.
The 21-year-old uses a low-90s fastball, quality slider and mixes in a change-up and slow curveball to keep hitters off balance. It worked well in 2014 as Norris’ 163 strikeouts were the fifth most among all minor leaguers. This spring he is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA with 21 K’s and only four walks in 18.2 innings spread across five starts.
With a starting spot locked up, Norris should get a jump on most of his AL Rookie of the Year competition.
Next: Andrew Heaney