It has been a very active year for Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Daniel Norris. After starting the season and dominating at High-A Dunedin, the 21-year-old lefty has made pit-stops at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. On Monday, he’ll receive the news that he is joining the big league club, receiving a coveted roster spot due to September roster expansion.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi is reporting that multiple industry sources have confirmed that Norris will be among the contingent of players that receive the call-up today. That’s consistent with rumors that have circulated ever since August 15th, when Alex Anthopoulos appeared on the Brady and Walker radio show and said the following:
“No doubt Norris could come up. We’re not saying ‘No doubt he definitely comes up’, but he’s definitely earned consideration” – Alex Anthopoulos
It is certainly a promotion that is well-deserved, as Norris has made tremendous strides in 2014, pitching at three levels and over-matching competition at each, as shown below:
The final stages for his call-up were completed on Sunday night, when Norris made his first appearance out of Buffalo’s bullpen. Having already crested his innings threshold for the season, the Blue Jays wanted to transition Norris to a relief role for his call-up, something they’ve already done twice this season with two other heralded prospects; Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.
We caught up with and interviewed Daniel Norris in May, when he was still spinning his magic in the Florida State League for Dunedin, and asked him some questions about his incredible turn-around in 2014. In that interview, he attributed a lot of his changes to working with Vince Horsman, his pitching coach with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013.
Vincent was awesome. Stuck with me by & by. Through thick and thin ya know. He saw something in me I guess. Maybe it was the drive to get better. He spent a lot of time with me and helped me get out of that funk.
Whatever Horsman did, whether it was getting Norris to change his stride or to help him get on top of the ball better, it has paid off in droves. His season has vaulted him to the top of the Blue Jays prospect lists and given Jays fans a huge amount of excitement for the young pitching finally cresting into the big leagues.
Also discussed by Davidi are a few other prospective call-ups with rosters expanding for the final month of the season. Davidi starts with Kendall Graveman, a pitcher who has appeared on four levels this season (and who we also interviewed earlier this season). Graveman’s calling card hasn’t been the strike-out (6.19 K/9) but instead has been an extreme ground-ball tendency, something that will play well in Toronto in the future. Graveman features a heavy sinker that has netted him a 1.97 ground-out to air-out ratio in 2014 and 2.03 during his minor league career.
Let the evaluations begin.