The Detroit Tigers are all set to begin Spring Training. Concerns arising out of the upcoming season continue to heighten. After the dismal end to 2017, it is natural, perhaps, to lament the apparent state of the Tigers 40 man roster.
Aside from numerous trades and departures of past stars, significant injuries hit the 2017 Detroit Tigers team. Projections state this year’s team will win 63 to 68 games. The predictions will, undoubtedly, hold true if Tiger stars do not recover from past injuries.
One such concern centers around the health of starting pitcher Daniel Norris.
Since August of 2015, Norris has been struggling with a variety of injuries to his back, hip, oblique and quadriceps muscles.
In 2017, Norris saw career highs in games, innings pitched and strikeouts. He also experienced an increase in ERA, WHIP and batting average against.
Once again, he struggled with injuries and admitted that he probably came back from the disabled list “too soon”. Prior to 2017, Norris’ record was uplifting.
In 2014, Norris began his career as a September call up by the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched less than seven innings but expectations for his future soared.
In January 2015, MLB labeled Norris as the top prospect in Toronto and one of the best in the majors. He went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.50 WHIP before being traded to the Detroit Tigers.
Norris’ first start with Detroit was an exciting game against Baltimore on August 2nd. Whether it was a spectacular catch off the mound or his 7 1/3 inning, one run game, Tiger fans were electrified.
Daniel Norris finished the year with Detroit with a 2-1 record, 3.68 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
In 14 games in 2016, Norris went 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.399 WHIP, striking out 71 in 69 1/3 innings. The season was interrupted by stints on the disabled list.
Beginning with spring training last year, the injury bug once again showed itself. Norris was shelled in a preseason game against Atlanta in Orlando claiming “dead arm”. Manager Brad Ausmus asserted it was a game that Norris had to learn to work through.
Norris was obviously troubled and stated that fans booed him when in reality they were cheering for him and tried to encourage the young pitcher.
In the regular season, Norris was beset by back and quadriceps injuries. Fans did not see the dominate left-hander of years past.
Utilizing a two and four seam fastball that hits 96 mph, a curve that travels mid 70’s and change with a differential speed of 10 mph, Norris has the tools to be successful. It is hoped that his change in offseason workout activities will allow him to do.