Blue Jays Morning Brew: Daniel Norris’ excellent adventure, Jeff Hoffman’s rehab, and more.


All eyes were turned on Sarasota, FL, as the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Baltimore Orioles for their third spring training game of the season. However, the eyes were turned mostly on the team’s top prospect, left-hander Daniel Norris, who started the game. Competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, Norris showed why he’s so highly touted, giving the Blue Jays 1 and 2/3rds innings of work before hitting his pitch count, surrendering one hit, walking a batter, and striking out two in a scoreless outing.

While the Blue Jays lost the game 5-0, due to a pair of home runs for Baltimore, Gregor Chisholm of notes that the team was very encouraged with what they saw from Norris. In particular, a mechanical adjustment Norris made after walking Adam Jones in the first inning caught the attention of pundits and management alike.

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Likewise, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet also praised Norris’ performance. However, he goes on to note that while the first outing was solid, Norris may need to be consistently great this spring in order to unseat Aaron Sanchez (and perhaps Marco Estrada) for the fifth spot in the rotation. Otherwise, the Blue Jays will likely allow him to season a bit at Triple-A before possibly bringing him back up later this season, similar to what they did with Marcus Stroman a year ago.

Norris was under more interesting spotlight on Thursday as well. The media has been all over the story of how Daniel Norris spends his winters living out of a 1978 Volkswagon Westfalia van, traveling the country, catching waves, and unplugging himself from the outside world. However, ESPN’s Eli Saslow may have written the definitive piece on the subject, really getting down to man himself and why he separates himself in such a way, despite his multi-million signing bonus. For me, the quote of the piece sums it all up nicely:

"“It’s like a yin-and-yang thing for me,” he says. “I’m not going to change who I am just because people think it’s weird. The only way I’m going to have a great season is by starting out happy and balanced and continuing to be me. It might be unconventional, but to feel good about life I need to have some adventure.” – Daniel Norris (h/t ESPN)"

Of course, Daniel Norris wasn’t the only pitcher getting attention in Blue Jays camp yesterday. With the Blue Jays facing the Orioles, the media was reminded of the team’s courting of Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette, and how the Orioles wanted prospect Jeff Hoffman if it were to let Duquette go. Shi Davidi caught up with Hoffman yesterday, as he continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Hoffman acknowledges being happy to still be with the Blue Jays, and interestingly enough, indicates that he’d like to help them this year if he could. With the start of his season pushed back until May, that isn’t likely to happen, and he’s more likely to make his MLB debut in 2016 if he progresses quickly. However, it’s encouraging to see a guy think that highly of his stuff, something the Blue Jays obviously believe in as well.

Finally, if reading isn’t your thing on Friday, and you simply need a break, there are a couple of great podcasts out there for your listening pleasure. First off, Ben Lindburgh and Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus take a preview look at the 2015 Blue Jays, which includes a talk with Andrew Stoeten and Shi Davidi, and is a good listen. Speaking of good listens, the always knowledgeable Kyle Matte (Capital Jays) and the crew from YourVanC’s (Charlie Caskey and Greg Balloch) discuss prospects and more, including former Blue Jays’ prospect Noah Syndergaard’s lunch-gate with the Mets.

And speaking of podcasts, if you want to catch up on all of our Jays Nest podcasts, they are now available on iTunes and Android via the following links. Be sure to subscribe and follow along, as we have more great shows coming!


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Be sure to subscribe and follow along, as we have more great shows coming! Oh, and if you feel like throwing us a solid rating, we’d surely appreciate it!

Next: Dalton Pompey and Kevin Pillar taking outfield competition seriously