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Bud Norris Is The Concrete Rose

Oh sure, it's all doom and gloom for the Astros recently. But just because the team as a whole has taken a nose-dive doesn't mean that every piece of it is hopeless. Yea, look at Bud Norris and you can see a starting pitcher that could be valuable for a long time to come. SB Nation's Jeff Sullivan did just that, and here's what he saw:

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Norris' strikeouts are up this season, and his walks are down, and - surprise! - that's led to his becoming a more successful starter. Baseball is easy!

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A bigger question might be how he's done this. The first thing one might notice is that Norris has trimmed his walks against left-handed hitters, embracing more of a pitch-to-contact approach. Norris had struggled with lefties in the past, and while he hasn't exactly dominated them in 2011, the important numbers are sexier.

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Norris' slider is a weapon, and he's used it to keep same-handed hitters obedient. This leap forward against righties doesn't explain Norris' entire improvement, but it does explain a lot of it. When half the hitters a pitcher faces can't touch him simply because of the side of the plate that they stand on, that pitcher's going to have an easier path to success.

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Boy, the guy who figured out that Norris should focus more on his slider should be taking home a medal for his work this year, huh? Oh wait, nevermind.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.