Waiver Wire: Daniel Norris Time

Aug 2, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris (44) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After numerous days of deliberation, the Tigers officially made the move to become sellers at the trade deadline. They shipped off a key cog in their offense in offense, Yoenis Cespedes, but more importantly they shipped off their best pitcher as well.

The Jays decided to step in, and once again make a big splash by acquiring David Price from Detroit. The Tigers did well however, in getting back a return that centered on highly touted prospect Daniel Norris.

Daniel Norris had been deemed a future key rotation piece for the Jays over the last few years, as Norris showed the promise that had him sitting close to top of most top prospect lists. He was definitely a guy to monitor this spring as a potential sleeper candidate this season, and by the time the season started, he found himself in the Jays rotation.

He only lasted 23 innings during the 2015 season, and his results were inconsistent to say the least. He notched a win in his first start of the year against the Yankees showing that he could withstand one of the tougher lineups in the bigs. His best start of the year came against Tampa, where he was able to limit the Rays across seven innings for one run, while striking out seven.

Unfortunately though, his other three starts were pretty rough. He found himself exiting games early because of his pitches thrown, and he struggled to limit the hits against him. It was clear to the Jays that maybe Norris was just not ready yet, and may need more polishing in the minors.

During his time in the minors things did not seem to get any better. He posted a 4.27 ERA over his sixteen starts. While results are what we all are seeking out, Norris did show improvement even through the ugly numbers.

His peripherals have all stayed pretty consistent, but the main thing that he began to really hone was his complete repertoire. Norris always seemed to always run into pitch count problems, so in the minors he knew he needed to both further develop his put away pitch, and command his fastball.

He has shown some improvement fastball command wise in the minors, but the real improvement has been his changeup becoming a better and more developed pitch. Watching his first big league start since April today, it was clear that he had crisper stuff than what we have seen.

He shut down a hot Orioles lineup to post a, 7 IP/1 ER/ 5 K’s line, while also only allowing four hits on the day. The key to his success was that it seemed he had refined his changeup into basically two types of pitches.

With his fastball only topping out around 93, he must rely on movement until he solidifies is command more. On one hand he had a changeup that would almost act like a cutter, as it would dive in on batters, limiting their ability to square the ball up. The other version he utilized, was the truer changeup that dips down out of the zone, becoming his out pitch.

On the day he just looked more polished and big league ready. He looked the part of that top prospect, and the ability to disguise his changeups seems to be the key for his success. This is also not taking into account, his groundball inducing slider and two seamer.

From a fantasy perspective, I like Norris’s fantasy value going forward. He will already see a downtick in his ERA with the move out of the Rogers Centre to the more pitcher friendly Comerica Park. Combine that with getting away from the notoriously offensive AL East lineups, and the value is evident.

The Tigers pitching as a whole is horrible, even though the offense still remains respectable, making Norris a dicey wins contributor. I do think that he can provide plenty of quality starts though, allowing fantasy owners with some category assistance.

Strikeout wise Norris has a 7.7 SO/9 in the minors, and I think that is about the tops of what he could produce in the majors. He should be able to supply five to six strikeouts a game though, softening the hit.

Norris’ next start is against the Red Sox in Detroit, a pretty decent matchup even though the Red Sox can still show flashes of a good offense. I hold that he would be a suitable plug in and play waiver wire pickup for the backend of your rotations.

The promise and talent in there, so fantasy owns could be able to capture Norris on a  hot streak as he wants to cement himself atop the Tigers rotation this year, and for the future. Fantasy owners should make the move before the hype starts to drive up his status on the waiver wire.