Detroit Tigers: Daniel Norris growing into bullpen role exceptionally well

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers moved Daniel Norris to the bullpen, and he has proven to adapt exceptionally well.

Heading into the 2020 season, Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire talked about the idea of using Daniel Norris as a piggyback reliever for Michael Fulmer when it was talked about that Fulmer will be an “opener.”

The Tigers would make a great decision; moving Norris into a relief role has worked out pretty well. Norris would miss the start of the season while battling COVID-19 issues; once he was activated, he would be sent to the bullpen.

His first game back would get him into a start against the Cincinnati Reds during a doubleheader, but since then, he has been used strictly in relief roles. He has been more than reliable, which makes plenty of sense given his archetype as a player.

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In 2020, Norris has made a total of eight appearances, with one of them being the start against the Reds.

Norris has totaled 17.1 innings pitched, where he has allowed only 5 earned runs for a 2.60 ERA on the season.

Norris has allowed 16 hits, walked three, and struck out 17 on the season for the Tigers.

He has two outings where he gave up two runs; other than that, just one run has been allowed by Norris.

His first start in 2020 after coming off of the COVID-19 list was a 1.2 innings pitched start where he gave up four hits and allowed two runs, which is just under half of the total runs Norris has allowed in all of 2020.

Given Norris’s success has been in outings where he throws in less than four innings, it seems the Tigers tapped into the Norris they should have in the past.

He only has one outing where he has registered four innings, and he allowed two runs in this outing, which ties his first start for the most runs allowed in an outing.

Norris has seen some struggles in the past when he starts games; the issues tended to come on the second pass through the lineup, which can easily be fixed by converting or adding the opener strategy.

Using Fulmer as an opener and letting Norris take the backend of this tandem. Norris has three wins to his credit in 2020, but regardless, he has flourished in a bullpen role rather than being exposed on the second turn through the lineup.

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The Detroit Tigers were onto something by moving Daniel Norris into the bullpen, and the change of role for him has been nothing but exceptional for him so far.