In his first 16 innings of the 2011 season, Astros' starter Bud Norris has racked up 20 strikeouts to six walks, yet his 5.06 ERA suggests he has been less than dominant. However, he's one of the game's most intriguing young pitchers that seemingly no one knows about (he's only 2.3 percent owned in ESPN fantasy leagues).
Now might be the time to get to know that facts on Bud Norris, before he roundhouse kicks the rest of the National League into submission.
Note: Unlike ChuckNorrisFacts.com, these are actual facts.
- Bud Norris struck out 9.25 batters per nine innings pitched, which was a nudge better than Mat Latos and Josh Johnson.
- Opposing hitters whiffed about 25 percent of the time, which was on par with the whiff rates of Tim Lincecum and Jered Weaver.
- He stranded only 67 percent of his baserunners, which was about five percent below the league average. The Astros team UZR was -13 for the year.
Norris did walk 4.5 per nine innings and allow just slightly over one home run per nine, but he also worked on fixing a kink in his delivery in June that led to better control in July and August. That kink was an inconsistent release point, which was quite frankly all over that place. He made the adjustment in June and saw his BB/9 fall to 1.8. However, he still struggled with consistency and his walk rate fell apart in September (6.6 BB/9).
So far in 2011...
- As stated above, Norris has struck out 20 in only 16 innings.
- Opposing hitters have whiffed at a clip of about 26 percent.
- He has generated an 8.2 percent whiff rate on his fastball, 16.7 percent whiff rate on his changeup and and outstanding 21.6 percent whiff rate on his slider.
- Norris had only allowed two line-drives in 16 innings.
Norris has been very consistent with his release point thus far in 2011 and has held his free passes in check. However, he has been around the middle of the plate a bit too much. One by-product of that has been three home runs in his 16 innings and two of the three homers have come with runners on base. Norris has also struggled with runners on base in general. Before Thursday's game, Norris had allowed a .476 AVG, .500 OBP and 1.000 SLG with a .556 BABIP against in 16 plate appearances with runners on base. Of course, 16 plate appearances is an ultra small sample size, so those numbers will look drastically different in two months. In fact, just about all of Norris's numbers are due for a dramatic change in the coming months.
Bud Norris may not be the Chuck Norris of the National League, he may not even be an all-star, but he's a 26-year-old fireballer with a killer slider and the ability to miss a ton of bats. If he can stay consistent with his release point, limit his base on balls and keep the ball out of the heart of the plate, there is a good chance he ends up being a surprise pitcher for the Astros this season.