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June 20, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

My Catcher Fetish and Derek Norris

by Craig Goldstein


I kind of have a thing for catchers. That’s a weird thing to have to admit, and frankly I didn’t even know this was the case for much of my life. You don’t necessarily know you’re weird until you’re on a podcast with three supposed friends and they call you out for having a catcher fetish. What a shameful moment.

All this is to say, I tend to value catchers more than your average fantasy analyst. There’s not a right or a wrong in this concept, it’s just a different approach. Except when it comes to Derek Norris, in which case it’s a totally correct approach because have you seen his slash line? His .313/.416/.531 line is likely a mirage of sorts, but there’s plenty of supporting evidence as to why Norris, who has previously struggled, is now a monster at the plate.

If we go back to my very first article for BP, I highlighted five post-hype prospects to keep an eye on, including one Derek Norris. I reasoned that:

“There are encouraging signs if you look below the surface. He’s upped his walk rate from 9% to 13% while cutting his strikeout rate an impressive five percentage points from 28% to 23%.”

Even I couldn’t have imagined Norris trimming his strikeout rate down to 15 percent and pushing his walk rate up another three percentage points, though. His eight home runs are one off his career high, and we haven’t reached July. The production is inarguable, but the question is what to expect going forward. Even if the underlying stats say he’s earned what he’s produced, is he going to keep earning that type of production?

Our first look can be at playing time, often an issue for catchers, especially ones that are in a platoon, as Norris is with John Jaso. But is he? Norris has 81 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers and 110 against right-handed pitchers. Now, he’s not an everyday backstop, a la Jonathan Lucroy (another catcher who took his time developing into an all-around force), but that doesn’t mean he’s directly in a platoon, either. Norris has earned and is receiving enough playing time that he should begin to shed the label of platoon bat.

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Catchers,  Derek Norris

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<< Previous Article
Daily League Strategy:... (06/20)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Kee... (06/19)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Loo... (06/25)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (06/20)

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