Bud Norris | SP | Houston Astros | DOB: 3/2/1985 | 6-0 | 195 lbs | Bats/Throws: Right | HOU #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America

The Cube: Control (27) | K-rating (90) | Efficiency (48)

Full name is David Stefan Norris Jr.  Mr. Norris is rather stocky with a larger/stronger lower body and is athletic – almost looks like a football player. One would think that this makes him a bit more injury free, but in 2008 he was on the DL from mid-May until early June with an elbow strain. However, other than this, his medical history is clean.

Bud has a fastball that he throws from 93 to 95 mph, but has been able to hit 98 several times before. When he pitched out of the bullpen, he was able to hit 97 and 98 almost regularly. He also throws the prototypical hard and short power slider, or simpler – a nasty biting slider – which he uses as an out pitch. These are two nice pitches but he struggles to throw a change-up, if at all. This leads many scouts to believe he would be better suited to pitch out of the bullpen – along with he tendency to change his delivery mechanics from pitch to pitch when he is fatigued. If he were to pitch from the bullpen, the best possible outcome would be a top-tier reliever and worst case scenario would be an inning eating middle reliever. Neither are positions to scoff at in real life, but that would limit his fantasy impact.

Here are his numbers (All stats that follow are as of July 5, 2009 ):

’06 (A-) 10.9 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9 | 38 IP | .2 HR/9 | 3.79 ERA | 2.46 FIP | 1.08 WHIP | .306 BABIP
’07 (A) 10.3 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 102 2/3 IP | .7 HR/9 | 4.56 ERA| 3.31 FIP | 1.3 WHIP | .331 BABIP
’08 (AA) 9.4 K/9 | 3.9 BB/9 | 80 IP | .9 HR/9 | 4.05 ERA | 3.83 FIP | 1.5 WHIP | .364 BABIP
’09 (AAA) 8.9 K/9 | 4.7 BB/9 | 93 IP | .6 HR/9 | 2.52 ERA | 3.58 FIP | 1.34 WHIP | .306 BABIP

The K-rate is nice, as is the homer rate; however, those are the best positives I can dig up from those numbers for him to be a top of the line starter (which he never will be, at best he would be a #3 or #4 starter). However, if one projects him as a reliever in the Joba Chamberlain mode, than he would be a nice 7th or 8th inning reliever.  I am a bit scared by that walk rate any way you look at it though. Each year it has increased, and significantly this past year. One thing to keep in mind is that a player can change some of their tendencies, and Houston’s Director of Player Development mentioned earlier in July that, “Norris has improved his composure and presence on the pitching mound this year.” That’s good, and his last few starts since that comment, Norris has pitched with a bit more control. His low ERA this year is a result of a high LOB% (80.3%).

At the end of this year he may not be a top, or even a starter like once envisioned, but he still has a bright future as a reliever, maybe (and this is just a thought that ran through my mind) even become the closer of the future… There is no reason for the Astros to bring him up before September because they aren’t going to need him before then. Here’s to spring 2010…

Mike Stanton | OF | Florida Marlins | DOB: 11/8/1989 | 6-5 | 205 lbs | Bats/Throws: Right | FL #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America
The Cube: Power (100) | Speed (13) | Contact (5) | Patience (67)

Holy Power Batman! Mike Stanton hit 39 homers last year in A-ball (granted he played in a field that hit better than pre-humidor Coors Field), and has 12 already this year between A+ and AA in 278 AB. I am not even sure how no one ever talks about him. Interesting factoid – He was offered a fully scholarship to play either wide receiver or defensive back for USC! Plain and simple, Mike Stanton the hitter (not the Yankee middle reliever) is a physical specimen!

He has been compared to Dave Winfield, and Baseball America says he has plus power (duh), plus speed (as demonstrated by his scholarship offers) and plays above average defense. Several scouts still say his power is raw, and needs to become a more refined hitter. That’s fair, he isn’t quite 20 yet and is hitting for a jaw dropping amount of power. Supposedly, his speed is going to translate into steals, but he has yet to develop those base stealing instincts according to the Marlins VP of Player Development. Anyway, here are his numbers:

08 (A) .293/.381/.611 | 468 AB | 11 BB% | 32.7 K% | .318 ISO | .355 BABIP | 39hr/97rib/4sb
09 (A+) .294/.390/.578 | 180 AB | 13.5 BB% | 25 K% | .283 ISO | .330 BABIP | 12hr/39rib/2sb
09 (AA) .214/.316/.418 | 98 AB | 10.9 BB% | 31.6 K% | .204 ISO | .258 BABIP | 5hr/11rbi/1sb

He walks at a decent rate, his ISO is stellar, but that K-rate is disgusting. He has struggled since being promoted to AA, and that should be expected. The end of the year totals at AA should improve, but he probably won’t hit for the same amount of power he hit last year. At least not yet.

I see a Mark Reynolds-type for his professional future, which I would say is a compliment. He might have a bit better defense, but he is more Reynolds than a Chris “K” Davis. Only time will tell. The way the Marlins handle their prospects, Stanton may see extended spring training time in 2010. Just for a quick chuckle, think of a lineup in two years (or even next year) with a developed Cameron Maybin, Hanley Ramirez, Stanton, an aged Uggla, and better than this year Cantu! That could be a rather scary lineup if the potential pans out.

  1. Pops says:

    Nice piece on Stanton. Light tower power as they say. How about a little something about my two favorite Phillies prospects – Dom Brown and Michael Taylor.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Pops: Stephen’s away on vacation, but I’m sure he’ll read the comments when he gets back.

  3. GTS says:

    I picked up Stanton hoping to use him as trait bait if his Baseball America’s ranking is really high next pre-season.

  4. Brian says:

    In any event, it looks like Stanton has made a nice recovery from being an unreliable Braves closer 15 years ago. Of course he was 4 years old at the time so we can forgive him.

  5. SamYo says:

    Great stuff, hmm .. how about Ryan Kalish ?

  6. Tom_Emanski says:

    Anyone else just get ticker-tortured by Daric Barton?

    If you did, you probably shouldn’t be playing fantasy baseball in the first place

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Brian: Ha!

    @SamYo: Stephen will be back from vacay and I’m sure he’ll read these comments then.

    @Tom_Emanski: Hehe

  8. Robert says:

    Sitting Kaz on Thurs.?

  9. Robert says:

    How long do you think G. Jones keeps this up? He has given me a huge boost, in the same way Chris Davis did last year. Time to sell before he crashes or do you think he can maintain for a few weeks?

  10. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Robert: I doubt it lasts much longer than two weeks.

  11. B-G-O says:

    Lets go Stros!

  12. Stephen says:

    @Pops: They are actually in the near future. I haven’t really mentioned many Phillies, except for Carlos Carrasco. I would imagine a Dominic Brown post before the seasons end.

    @GTS: I would hold and watch him first. I think he will be much better than what Chris Davis did this past year. Unless you get a killer offer, I would reap his benefits.

    @SamYo: Maybe, I don’t think I will touch on him for a while though.

    –Thanks for the comments guys.

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