So where are those former 2013 Houston Astros now? Let’s find out together.
Bud Norris – He’s still one of my favorite Astros ever and one of my favorite current athletes, but the masses of Astros fans haven’t been as crazy about Bud Norris the first season the former staff leader by default has spent away from the club with the Baltimore Orioles.
Dealt at the trade deadline last year to the O’s, the 28-year old Norris was making a team-high $3 million dollars for the Astros and had drawn interest from clubs such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees but ultimately ended up at Camden Yards.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The return held short term intrigue with longer term promise. Outfielder (and previously a 2B) L.J. Hoes was acquired along with starting pitcher Josh Hader and a 2014 competitive balance pick that saw the ‘Stros select outfielder Derek Fisher 37th overall and third overall in the Competitive Balance A round.
My only problem with that pick.
After just one 2-3 game in rookie ball, Fisher was promoted to low A Tri Cities where so far the very promising 20-year old left handed hitter is slashing .363/.463/.901 with 11 stolen bases through just 21 ballgames.
Josh Hader, also 20 years young, is in high A right now throwing beautifully. He has compiled a 9-1 record with a dazzling 2.36 ERA in 21 games this season. 14 of those were starts, three of those he actually finished the game and in two recorded saves.
L.J. Hoes, the closest and far and away most MLB ready product acquired in the trade had already made his MLB debut with one AB in 2012 for the Orioles as well as three more in 2013. However, his first hit would come as an Astro after being acquired and in a try out for the following year he was very productive, hitting .287 in 46 games.
Unfortunately he has lost a ton of steam this year, hitting .170 in 44 games and the 24-year old currently mans center field for the AAA Redhawks. The power and stolen base combo potential has yet to blossom but he’s hitting a more than respectable .323 so far this season for OKC.
As a loyal follower of Bud Norris on twitter, I can tell you he’s certainly happy in the often used #Birdland hashtag. Whether O’s fans feel the same will rely heavily on his upcoming second half of the 2014 season.
In 2013 he had a few good starts but ultimately was not what the team had hoped down the stretch. Norris, like other rotation mates in Baltimore last season– Chris Tillman, Scott Feldman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez all have high potential but all are very capable of an ugly 4 IP 7 ER start. Norris had a 4.80 ERA in 50.2 IP in 2013 for Baltimore and so far in 2014 has battled a groin injury that caused him a DL stint but has been much, much better for the current leaders in the American League East. In 102.2 IP he is 8-7 with an ERA just under four at 3.94.
The slider specialist is making a hefty $5.3 million this season and is arbitration eligible through 2016.
Norris has found his way into the headlines back in his old stomping grounds and not in the best ways possible. He was outspoken about the Jon Singleton contract extension, calling it “terrible.”
Overall this remains mutually beneficial at the time with a chance to do even more so in the future for both organizations and their tones of orange.