The Los Angeles Angels signed Bud Norris to a one-year deal in the off season, hopeful that the veteran could at the very least eat some innings for a team already missing two young starting pitchers due to injuries.
Bud Norris ended up in the bullpen before Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs were lost for substantial parts of 2017. However, for the Los Angeles Angels, the pitching injuries did not stop with the rotation. With Huston Street already out in spring training, Andrew Bailey and Cam Bedrosian soon followed, and in the bullpen Norris stayed.
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Teams had tried Norris in the bullpen and it never panned out. Seeing as starting hadn’t been panning out either, the Angels gave it a shot using Norris as a reliever. For a team desperate to have something go right with their pitching, Bud Norris has come through big for the Los Angeles Angels.
Norris has collected 9 saves to go along with a 2.92 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched. In the first third of the Angels season, Norris’ 0.6 WAR already is his best since 2014. Norris was still a full time starting pitcher then. He has managed to largely avoid the long ball, which has been his enemy in the past and put up 32 K to 10 BB to go along with his 1.014 WHIP.
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Bud Norris is an eight-year major league veteran who had only two saves going into this season and was supposed to be the long-man in the Angels bullpen and even a spot starter, but has found a home in the Angels bullpen.
Overall Grade: A. Whether Norris remains as the closer long term will depend as much on his success as the performances of Bedrosian and Street when they return. However, Norris has certainly show thus far that he may have a place in a major league bullpen going forward. At 32 years old, he could have many years left to contribute as a reliever.