Top 10 Opposing Players for 2011 - No. 7
No. 7 - Derek Norris
Bio: Taken by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2008 draft out of Goddard High in Goddard, Kansas, Norris appears to be on track as the Nationals catcher of the future. He's homered 49 times in 327 minor league games, and has produced a career split of .261/.414/.876, with a tremendous 276 walks against 304 strikeouts.
2010: Norris missed part of 2010 after being struck in the head by a pitch while playing with High-A Potomac of the Carolina League, but made up for lost time by playing with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. His batting average dropped to a career low of .235 during the regular year, but his OBP stayed at an outstanding .419. He also caught an eye-popping 51% of runners trying to steal.
What People Are Saying: "I know I can hit, but I want to play defense," said Norris, the only Nationals' minor leaguer listed among Baseball America's latest ranking of the top 50 prospects. "That's really my key goal. That's really what is gonna move you up. Every team needs a good catcher, and if you don't have a good catcher your team is screwed."
"He has a short, easy stroke and plenty of power to all fields, but it's his plate discipline that makes him potentially special. He has an uncanny feel for the strike zone and nearly never swings at a bad pitch. He has a plus arm and made great strides in harnessing it during the season by shortening his release and improving his accuracy."
-- Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus
Note that interests only me: Norris was born on Valentine's Day, exactly 130 years after my home state, Oregon, was admitted to the union.
When You Can See Him: Harrisburg comes to Waterfront Park on April 14-17 and June 14-16,