Now that the Detroit Tigers are done with their decent season, we can look back at how Daniel Norris affected the team.
Norris had about the same season as the Detroit Tigers did. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t an outstanding year either.
After being injured for some of the first few months, his struggles kept him down in Toledo for most of first half. But when he returned to Detroit, Norris proved that he has a bright future in the Tiger’s rotation. Norris posted a 3.38 ERA in 14 outings with the Tigers. He also had a WHIP of 1.40 in 69.1 innings. His WHIP was just above league average.
In Norris’s last start against the Atlanta Braves, he pitched his best game of his young career in a must-win for the Tigers. Norris, against the Braves, went 6 2/3 of one-run baseball, while giving up 5 hits and striking out 8. He did give up two free bases in the 6 2/3. Norris threw 114 pitches (the most of his career) and out of the 114, he threw 78 strikes.
A few things that Daniel Norris could do to improve his performance is to throw fewer pitches to each batter. He needs to learn from Justin Verlander that three pitches per batter is plenty.
He also needs to consistently command his curve ball. Norris showed his nasty 12-6 curve many times this year. It has good downward movement to it. Once he gets consistent control of that curve, that pitch could become his regular put-away pitch.
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He also has to learn that he doesn’t have the fastest fastball in the league. There will be occasions where he will face a professional hitter like Eric Hosmer or Kendrys Morales who will expect fastballs at certain counts, so he has to throw the change up or something off-speed to get their timing off. But he has to have those pitches hit their spots perfectly.
In 2016, Daniel Norris proved that he has a bright future with the Tigers, especially if he can make those few adjustments. He could be the ace or the second starting pitcher behind Michael Fulmer. Norris could make it a tough decision for Brad Ausmus in the next few years.
A good lefty like Norris would be great to have as the ace, but Fulmer has shown dominance in his young career. Having to choose where to put two pitchers like Fulmer and Norris is certainly not a bad problem for a manager to have.