Padres Report Cards: Derek Norris


For the first FriarsOnBase report card, the focus was on Austin Hedges. Now, we move to the Padres starting catcher – Derek Norris.

Norris was brought over from Oakland during the offseason as a high-on-base but below average defensive catcher. Ironically, he flipped those qualities in 2015.

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Norris started off with a hot first two months. Oddly enough, one of Norris’s greatest qualities – his eye for walks – didn’t follow him to San Diego. He followed up with a terrible June and July. Despite finishing strong (.378 on-base in September/October), the workhorse finished with a .250/.305/.404/.709 slashline. He went from a 119 OPS+ (meaning he is 19-percent better than the league average OPS) in 2014 to a 99 this year. He was about as average as can be.

As disappointing as his year was at the plate, there should be hope for 2016. His .278/.345/.399/.744 second half was solid and harkened back to the player in Oakland.

Defensively, Norris improved. He went from throwing out only 17-percent of runners in 2014 to 34-percent in 2015. Like Hedges, Norris’s pitch framing was very good. His 69.8 strikes added (however one earns .8 of a strike is beyond me…) was good for tenth in all of baseball. In 2014, he was actually in the red in pitch framing.

Norris was solid in his 17 games at first base – a position he had played only four innings in the majors. Baseball Projection has him at a neutral zero fielding runs above average at first.

Perhaps what hurt Norris in the summer months was fatigue. He was thrown behind the plate for 128 games in 2015 and played in 147 games – 20 more than his career high. Even a 26 year-old needs a day off. Regardless, he was an incredibly durable player.

His WAR was 2.5. Not mind-blowing, but good for third on the club.

I want to finish by saying that Norris’s hustle should be venerated. At no point, could one think that he was not trying his very best.

Durability: A

On-Base: C-

Power: C+

Running: B (for a catcher)

Fielding: A-

Throwing: B

Total Offense: C

Total Defense: B+

2015 Season: B-

Hope for 2016: B

Next: Austin Hedges Report Card