Toronto Blue Jays 2015 Top Prospects: #1 Daniel Norris


It’s been two weeks since our faithful leader, Kyle Franzoni started the Jays Journal countdown of the Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects for 2015 with  A.J. Jimenez. This season’s list welcomed 2014 draft picks Jeff Hoffman, Max Pentecost, and Sean Reid-Foley, newly acquired second baseman Devon Travis, and fully committed to baseball Anthony Alford.

This list looks a lot different from last season’s list, with several prospects being traded or falling from grace. This year, we took sort of a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.

Before we get to Jays Journal’s top ranked prospect for 2015 let’s take a second to appreciate the hard work, coordination, and dedication that it takes to put together a list like this. I’d like to thank veteran staff writers Justin Jay and Jeff Morton, not so new comers Eric Elliot, and the guys that make this fantastic site tick Editor Kyle Franzoni and Co-Editor Shaun Doyle.

and now for Jays Journal 2015 Top Prospect Daniel Norris.

Name: Daniel Norris
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Date of Birth: 04/25/1993 (Age 21)
Acquired: Selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 Amateur Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and signed for $2M.
Born: Johnson City, TN
High School: Science Hill HS
Height/Weight: 6’2″/180 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Previously ranked 5th in 2014 and 7th in 2013
  • Organization All-Star- 2014
  • Baseball America Minor League All-Star- 2014
  • Fans’ Choice for Best Starting Pitcher- 2014
  • Futures Game Selection- 2014
  • Staff Choice for Breakout Prospect- 2014
  • Mid-Season All-Star- 2014
  • First MLB start 25/09/14: ND-3.1IP, H, 2R, 2BB, K


MiLB stats 

MLB stats

Control issues have plagued Daniel Norris for his entire young career, it was these issues that generated an ugly rookie season in 2012 and an uninspiring 2013. Norris’ strike out rates and FIP during his tumultuous first two seasons provided a glimmer of hope that Norris, the jewel of the 2011 draft, would improve in 2014.

The Tennessee native, put together a dream season, one that saw him sky-rocket up the Blue Jays minor league system. Starting the year as part of a very impressive Dunedin Blue Jays rotation, Norris post a 1.91 FIP in 13 starts before starting his ascent.

With God on his side, Norris saw his K-rate increase with each new challenge. By the time Norris reached Toronto, he had struck out 163 batters over 124IP and finishing with a record of 12-2 with a 2.53ERA over three minor league levels. What’s even more inspiring about Norris’ 2014 is that he was able to produce these numbers despite a very poor July, which saw him pitch to a 1-1, 7.82ERA record with 11BB in 12 IP.

In October, Dr. David Altchek removed bone spurs and loose bodies from Norris’ left elbow. It was these spurs and loose bodies that caused Norris to experience a dip in velocity and made his stuff look flat in his first major league  start against the Seattle Mariners on September 25th.

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Outlook and ETA

Daniel Norris will be heading to Dunedin with a legitimate shot at winning a spot on the Blue Jays Opening Day roster. The question remains, will it be as the Blue Jays 5th starter or as a member of the bullpen.

The Lefty who can touch 96 mph with his fastball and a sweeping 10-4 curve that sits in the mid-70’s will make it extremely tough to send him down to Buffalo to anchor the Bison’s rotation. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if the Jays #1 prospect didn’t make the trip north.

In Buffalo, Norris would be able to focus on his command/control of his secondary pitches to decrease his BB%.

After reading this quote taken ( after his first major league start, I don’t care where he starts, I’m just happy he’s will be a Toronto Blue Jay pitcher for many years to come,

"“It’s obvious that my stuff isn’t there,” Norris said after his first career big league start on Sept. 25. “It’s tough to try to pitch without your stuff, but sometimes that’s the competitor that has to come out and I think that’s what I tried to do … go out and compete without your big guns.”"

Daniel Norris should one of the Jays starters succumb to injury, Norris should be the first arm called up.

ETA: 2015

Next: The Legend of Jack Murphy