I wrote this Daniel Norris sleeper post at the same time I wrote my Carlos Rodon sleeper, because they’re similar, and not because they were born within a year of each other about 22 years ago. Geez, 22 years ago, I could be Norris’s absentee daddy. *checks Norris’s player profile picture for a mustache* Nope, he ain’t mine! Rodon touches 98 MPH while Norris touches 95. Rodon has three pitches, while Norris has four pitches. Rodon lives in a house, Norris lives in a VW van parked in a Target parking lot. Hold on one second, what again were their similarities? Oh, yeah, they can’t command their pitches. Well, couldn’t up until last year. In Triple-A last year, Norris threw 90 2/3 IP with a 4.1 BB/9. In the majors thru 60 IP, he had a 2.9 BB/9. Another thing that’s similar is both guys should reach around (not that kind of reach around) 180 innings this year and both could go over 9 K/9. Now, whether it’s due to Rodon playing in college while Norris went straight to the minors out of high school, Rodon feels more polished. That’s not to say he’s more like A.J. Pollock; wrong polished. That polished is with cabbage. As in, my babcha would Polish our forks with cabbage. Now, Norris still makes the nethers attentive on a pure upside scale, so don’t let the “He’s not as good as Rodon” get you down. He’s in Motown. When a prostitute trips, a pimp yells hoedown. And now I’ve painted myself into a limerick corner. Anyway, what can we expect from Daniel Norris for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
In Single-A, Norris led all of the minors in K/9. In Triple-A, he had a 15.1 K/9. That was all in 2014. In 2015, shizz went a little pear-shaped with a 7.7 K/9 in Triple-A and 6.8 in the majors. I don’t think he was exposed as not as good as his earlier minor league numbers indicated. I think he got to Triple-A and the majors and he tried to figure out how to pitch rather than just blow hitters away. You know what comes next? Learning how to pitch while blowing away hitters. Backing up this hypothesis is his walk rate in the majors last year was his best BB/9 since High-A. Someone likely said to him, “15 K/9 is as sexy as that whipped cream scene in Varsity Blues, but you can’t be effective and have a 5 BB/9,” so he fixed something. That quote likely involved chewing tobacco or Big League Chew, because all baseball scenes involve one or the other. I doubt he can’t figure out how to command his pitches while also striking out hitters. It’ll come. When? Well… He’s a sleeper, because he’ll likely be drafted late since he appears to be a year away, and, sadly, he might not just appear to be a year away, but he might actually be a year away, though he might appear to be a year away and not be a year away. I’m the Grand Champion of putting “year away” in one sentence, by the way. Norris is a pure upside play. He could be a 4+ ERA guy that bounces between the rotation, the bullpen and the minors or a 2.75 ERA guy with truckloads of Ks. I’m guessing for this year, we’re gonna get a little bit of all of those scenarios from month to month. For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 9-11/3.67/1.22/155 in 180 IP.