A pair of southpaw pitching prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system have been in the news the last few days: Sean Nolin at Triple-A Buffalo and Daniel Norris at Double-A New Hampshire. Here's an update.
Sean Nolin, LHP: Nolin got off to a good start with Buffalo this year, posting a 1.96 ERA with a 24/11 K/BB in 23 innings in his first four starts. He began being bothered by a groin strain in May, seeing a reduction in effectiveness as a result. He was placed on the disabled list after a rough start on May 13th, was activated on June 6th but was returned to the disabled list with the groin injury on June 18th after three substandard outings, walking eight in nine innings over those three starts.
Nolin is 2-4, 3.70 in 10 starts for Buffalo with a 42/24 K/BB in 49 innings. The groin problem is clearly impacting his pitching and the goal now is to get him healthy. He's still a promotion option later in the season if that happens.
Daniel Norris, LHP: While Nolin has fallen on some difficult times of late, Daniel Norris is going in the opposite direction.
He got off to an outstanding start with High-A Dunedin, posting a 1.22 ERA with a 76/18 K/BB in 66 innings with 50 hits allowed. Clearly too good for the Florida State League, he was just promoted to Double-A New Hampshire and fanned nine men in his first start. He also gave up four runs in 5.2 innings but the strikeouts were impressive and fit well with reports regarding his 90-95 MPH fastball and substantial improvements with his power curve, slider, and changeup over the last few months.
Norris has always had fine stuff but problems with his mechanics and command made him something of a disappointment when he was first drafted in the second round of 2011 from high school in Johnson City, Tennessee. He started to turn that around last year and is thriving in '14, moving quickly up prospect lists. Expect to see him somewhere on the next update of the Top 150 prospects list due in July.