Norris in 2013
|Baltimore Orioles – No. 25|
Born: March 2, 1985|
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|July 29, 2009 for the Houston Astros|
|Career statistics |
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||4.36|
|Career highlights and awards|
Minor league career
From Cal Poly, Norris was selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round (189th overall) of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. In 2009, Norris received an invitation to the Astros' spring training camp. Baseball America ranked him as the number two prospect in the Astros' system. In August 2009, he was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year after leading the league with a 2.63 earned run average.
Major league career
In July 2009, Norris was called up to pitch for the Astros following an injury to pitcher Roy Oswalt. He made his major league debut on July 29, pitching three innings of relief against the Chicago Cubs. In his first major league start on August 2, 2009, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and pitched seven shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals to earn his first career victory. In his rookie season overall, Norris went 6–3 with a 4.53 ERA in ten starts. He was shut down near the end of the season to prevent potential injury.
Norris had a shaky start in 2010, with a 2–6 record and 5.97 ERA up to the All-Star break. After the All-Star break he was much better, posting a 7–4 record with a 4.18 ERA. He finished the 2010 season at 9–10 with a 4.92 ERA.
On June 8, 2011, Norris took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before former Astro Lance Berkman broke it up with his 14th home run of the season, and his fourth of the season against Houston. Norris was still able to earn the win. He finished 2011 with a win–loss record of 6–11, even though he actually pitched well, as evidenced by his 3.77 ERA. Houston's poor offense in 2011 resulted in many low-scoring losses.
Norris went 7–13 with a 4.65 ERA in 2012. He began the season well, going 5-1 and 3.12 through May 21, but as Houston's season went rapidly downhill so did Norris'. He proceeded to go 0-12 with a 6.34 ERA during a streak of 18 starts while he battled injuries and inconsistencies. He finally ended the streak of futility on September 26 with a scoreless start on his way to a win at home against the St. Louis Cardinals and wrapped up his season with another scoreless effort and win at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Just before the deadline for clubs and players to exchange numbers for arbitration on January 18, 2013 Norris agreed to $3 million for the 2013 season.
Norris throws five pitches, although against right-handers he uses only his four-seam fastball (91–94 mph) and slider (83–87). Against lefties, he adds a changeup (85–87). Especially against righties, the slider is his favorite two-strike pitch. It also carries a whiff rate of 38%. Norris also throws a sinker and a curveball. Norris is prone to losing, allowing home runs and walks, but he also has a high strikeouts per nine innings ratio. He has finished in the top 10 among National League pitchers in each category.
- List of Major League Baseball pitchers who have struck out four batters in one inning
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)