Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Improved Norris a stalwart behind the plate

Padres catcher set career highs in innings caught and basestealers nabbed
MLB.com @FollowThePadres

SAN DIEGO -- On the final day of the regular season, Padres catcher Derek Norris was asked what his plans were following a season during which he caught more innings than he had in any other season of his big league career.

"Definitely some couch time and a little golf, then I'll get back at it again," Norris said. "The body is a little tired and ready for a break."

SAN DIEGO -- On the final day of the regular season, Padres catcher Derek Norris was asked what his plans were following a season during which he caught more innings than he had in any other season of his big league career.

"Definitely some couch time and a little golf, then I'll get back at it again," Norris said. "The body is a little tired and ready for a break."

The Padres leaned on Norris a lot in 2015 and he responded by starting a career-high 116 games behind the plate, which led to 1,040 2/3 innings.

Those far exceeded the marks Norris had in 2014 with the A's; 93 starts, 870 1/3 innings.

Better still, Norris led the big leagues in CCS (catcher caught stealing) with 38, 12 more than Brian McCann of the Yankees. That's the most in a single season since Gerald Laird threw out 40 would-be basestealers for the Tigers in 2009.

He threw out eight baserunners in all of 2014 with the A's.

"It was something that was a question for some coming into the year and it was something I wanted to prove I could do," Norris said. "I think I've gotten better, and one of the things I wanted to prove people wrong about was throwing out runners. I've accomplished that.

"Overall, I could take a good chunk of this year and be pretty proud of it."

Norris made big improvements in pitch-framing as well. BaseballProspectus.com had him catching 69.8 extra strikes (in 7,432 framing chances), the 10th-most in the Major Leagues. In 2014, he actually cost the A's 15.1 strike calls and ranked 85th among big league catchers.

The Padres currently have three catchers on the roster, so there is still a chance someone gets moved before Opening Day or, quite possibly, the team will allow Austin Hedges time to get more seasoning in Triple-A.

Norris would like to be in the lineup every day, yet for his long-term betterment the team will watch his innings. Could he see more time at first base?

"Where he was at last year, that's probably not the best recipe for him playing that many games," said Padres manager Andy Green. "The wear and tear at the end of the season … we are going to talk through that.

"But I love the fact [Norris] wants to be on the field every day. I know that Austin Hedges wants to be on the field every day. This roster is not set. We don't know how it's going to play and we don't know how many games each of those guys are going to play."

Until then, Norris will prepare for another long season behind the plate -- gladly. He was pleased with some of the gains he made in 2015 and only sees better things moving forward.

"There are a lot of positives to take from this year. I learned a lot playing every day. Hopefully the next couple of years of my career I'm able to get better and better. That's my ultimate goal," Norris said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres, Derek Norris