Derek Russell Norris (born February 14, 1989) is an American professional baseball catcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays.
Norris batting the San Diego Padres in 2015
|Born: February 14, 1989|
|June 21, 2012, for the Oakland Athletics|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2017 season)
|Runs batted in||247|
|Career highlights and awards|
Norris graduated from Goddard High School in Goddard, Kansas in 2007. At Goddard High, Norris played third base before transitioning to catcher, and also won a Class 6A Championship title. RISE Magazine named Norris its 2006–2007 Kansas Baseball Player of the Year. He committed to attend Wichita State University on a baseball scholarship.
Minor League BaseballEdit
Norris spent the 2007 season with the GCL Nationals, Washington's affiliate in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He played for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York–Penn League in 2008, the Hagerstown Suns of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 2009, the Potomac Nationals of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League in 2010, and the Harrisburg Senators of the Class-AA Eastern League in 2011. Baseball America rated Norris the 38th best prospect in baseball prior to the 2010 season and the 72nd best prospect in baseball prior to the 2011 season. He was also chosen as the Nationals' second best prospect prior to the 2011 season.
Norris made his MLB debut for the A's on June 21, 2012. He was called up to be a backup catcher behind the offensively struggling Kurt Suzuki. He went 0 for 3 but made a key defensive play in the 9th inning throwing out Dodgers Dee Gordon attempting to steal second base. On June 24, 2012, in the bottom of the 9th inning on a full count and the A's trailing 2–1, he hit his first career home run, a walk-off 3-run homer that helped the A's sink the San Francisco Giants, 4–2. When Suzuki was traded to the Washington Nationals on August 3, Norris became the primary catcher for the A's, backed up by the newly acquired George Kottaras. Norris finished the 2012 season batting .201/.276/.349 with 7 home runs in 209 at-bats and 53 starts at catcher.
In 2013, Norris was the primary catcher in a catching platoon, backed up by left-handed hitters John Jaso and Stephen Vogt. Norris missed portions of August and September with a broken toe. He started 71 games at catcher and played in 98 games overall, hitting for a .246 batting average with 9 home runs and 30 runs batted in.
Norris was selected as an All-Star in 2014. He hit .270/.361/.403 with 10 home runs in 385 at-bats, making 93 starts at catcher with John Jaso as a back-up.
San Diego PadresEdit
On December 18, 2014, the Athletics traded Norris and Seth Streich to the San Diego Padres in exchange for R. J. Alvarez and Jesse Hahn. Norris played in a career high 147 games in 2015, including 116 starts at catcher and 15 starts at first base. Despite moving to the National League, Norris racked up career highs in runs, RBIs, and home runs, and batted .250/.305/.404. Defensively, he threw out 34% of would-be basestealers and his pitch-framing was reported to be much improved from previous years.
In 2016, Norris struggled at the plate, posting a career-low .186 batting average, with a .255 on base percentage and .328 slugging percentage. Norris finished the season with 14 home runs, tying a career high, and 42 RBI. Runners stole a major-league-leading 76 bases against him. Despite the Padres pushing to trade Norris at the July 31 deadline, Norris remained with the team.
On December 2, 2016, the Washington Nationals acquired Norris from the Padres in exchange for Pedro Avila. Norris and the Nationals avoided arbitration over the winter, agreeing to a $4.2 million contract for 2017. After the team signed free agent catcher Matt Wieters, the Nationals reportedly attempted to trade Norris but were unable to find a taker. The Nationals granted Norris his unconditional release on March 15, 2017, rendering him a free agent eligible to sign with any team and allowing the team to pay only one-sixth of Norris' 2017 salary.
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
On March 25, 2017, Norris signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was designated for assignment on June 23, 2017 and released two days later. In 2017 he batted .201/.258/.380 with 9 home runs.
On September 1, 2017, Norris was suspended for the remainder of the 2017 season for violating MLB's personal conduct policy, regarding a domestic violence case against his former fiancée. In an Instagram post, his former fiancée stated that Norris verbally and physically abused her and assaulted her in 2015. Norris denied the allegations and there was an investigation by MLB. He did not appeal his suspension, and forfeited the remaining $100,000 that was owed to him by the Rays.
Sugar Land SkeetersEdit
On April 14, 2018, Norris signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. In 2018 he batted .256/.379/.402 with 12 home runs. He became a free agent following the 2018 season.
- "Goddard's Derek Norris reaches All-Star Game in a hurry". Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- ""RISE selects Goddard High School standout as Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year", retrieved 14-Feb-2008". Risemag.com. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- "Wichita Eagle: Search Results". Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Washington Nationals 2007 draft results, retrieved 14-Feb-2008". Washington.nationals.mlb.com. May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- Central PA. "Harrisburg Senators notebook: Nationals doing right by taking conservative route with Bryce Harper | PennLive.com". Blog.pennlive.com. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- Ladson, Bill (December 23, 2011). "Nationals land left-hander Gio Gonzalez, send four prospects to Athletics". MLB.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Slusser, Susan (February 19, 2014). "A's catcher Derek Norris eager to break out of platoon role". SFGate.com. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- Snyder, Matt (September 5, 2013). "A's catcher Derek Norris reinstated from disabled list". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- "Derek Norris Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- Lee, Jane (July 6, 2014). "Oakland boasts largest contingent on All-Star roster". MLB.com. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- "Padres trade Jesse Hahn, R.J. Alvarez to A's for Derek Norris – UTSanDiego.com". U-T San Diego. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Derek Norris - San Diego - Major League Baseball - Yahoo! Sports". Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- Lin, Dennis (September 18, 2015). "Norris' improvement behind plate measurable". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Brock, Corey (August 10, 2015). "Catching coordinator lauds Norris' strides". MLB.com. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Derek Norris Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- Major League Leaderboards » 2016 » All Positions » Fielding Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
- Lin, Dennis. "Trade deadline passes, Norris stays with Padres". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- "Padres acquire RHP Pedro Avila from Washington Nationals" (Press release). December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- Reddington, Patrick (January 13, 2017). "Nationals reportedly avoid arbitration with Bryce Harper, Tanner Roark, Derek Norris & Anthony Rendon". Federal Baseball. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- Castillo, Jorge (March 15, 2017). "Nationals release catcher Derek Norris". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- Chastain, Bill (March 25, 2017). "Norris' signing gives Rays a bevy of backstops". MLB.com. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Mooney, Roger (June 23, 2017). "Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Derek Norris: Suspended for rest of 2017 - CBSSports.com
- Derek Norris has learned nothing from his domestic violence suspension – HardballTalk
- Beck, Jason (December 5, 2017). "Tigers ink center fielder Martin to one-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- Todd, Jeff (March 29, 2018). "Minor MLB Transactions: 3/29/18". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved March 29, 2018.