Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Norris and Sanchez Continue to Impress

  Righthander Aaron Sanchez, #1 on Clutchlings' Top 10 Jays Prospects list, and southpaw Daniel Norris, ranked #4, both turned in impressive performances last night.
   Sanchez had a tall order in facing a Fort Myers lineup that boasts several of the Twins top prospects, including #1 ranked 3rd baseman Miguel Sano, who is tied for the minor league home run lead with 10.  The Miracle reeled off 11 consecutive wins to start the Florida State League season, and sit atop the FSL's Southern Division with a 27-8 record, which is far and away the best won-loss records in the minors as well.  Against this tough lineup, Sanchez held his own, although control issues led to a season high 4 walks.  Sanchez allowed 3 runs in 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and striking out a season-low 1 Fort Myers batter, as the Miracle topped the Northern Division-leading D-Jays 6-2. 8 of his 11 outs not by strikeout were recorded on groundouts, indicating that Sanchez was once again pounding the strike zone down low.  The loss evened Sanchez' record to 2-2, with a 2.95 ERA.  In 39 innings, he's limited FSL batters to a .164 BA, and has allowed 14 walks while striking out 35.

  Daniel Norris was even more impressive in his start against Great Lakes.  While the Loons have scuffled along with Norris' Lansing Lugnuts near the bottom of the Midwest League's Eastern Division standings, Norris easily had his best start of the still-young season last night.  After giving up 8 runs in 1 1/3 innings in his last start, Norris pitched 4 scoreless innings against Great Lakes, as the Lugnuts blanked the Loons 5-0.  Norris gave up only 1 hit, while walking 3 and striking out 5.  According to Lugnuts' play-by-play man Jesse Goldberg-Strasser:
   Clearly, Norris was not experiencing the command issues he's often had through his first two pro seasons.  In fact, if you take away a disastrous outing against Dayton last week, he's 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 3 of his last 4 starts.  On the year, Norris is 0-3 with an 8.54 ERA, but the ERA drops to 6.48 without that start.  It's still early, but maybe Norris is beginning to show signs of filling the promise that the Jays saw when they drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, a draft in which many thought he was the top prep lefthander.
   With the performances of Chad Jenkins at the major league level, the return of Sean Nolin and the re-emergence of Deck McGuire at AA, Sanchez and Norris are adding to the depth of arms in the organization.
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