2015 Orioles preview: Bud Norris

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With Opening Day less than a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.

March 9 – Adam Jones
March 10 – Chris Tillman
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Zach Britton
March 13 – Chris Davis
March 14 – Wei-Yin Chen
March 15 – Jonathan Schoop
March 16 – Travis Snider
March 17 – Kevin Gausman
March 18 – Alejandro De Aza
March 19 – Tommy Hunter
March 20 – Manny Machado
March 21 – Brad Brach
March 22 – Steve Pearce
March 23 – Darren O’Day
March 24 – Caleb Joseph
March 25 – Wesley Wright
March 26 – Delmon Young
March 27 – Miguel Gonzalez
March 28 – Ryan Flaherty
March 29 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 30 – Everth Cabrera

RHP Bud Norris

Opening Day age: 30

Contract status: Becomes a free agent after the 2015 season

Minor-league options remaining: None

2014 stats: 15-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.6 K/IP, 20 HR, 165 1/3 innings

Why to be impressed: The right-hander is coming off the best season of his career in which he finished second in the rotation with 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings, posted a career-best WHIP, and tossed 6 1/3 superb innings in the clinching Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Norris not only showed improved fastball velocity with some of the best stuff on the staff last year, but he provides some attitude in a group with many quiet personalities.

Why to be concerned: Norris has struggled this spring, posting a 9.26 ERA and walking nine batters in 11 2/3 innings as he enters his final season before free agency. His tendency to wear his emotions on his sleeve while on the mound can work against him at times as control has been an issue at various points in his career with a 3.5 walks per nine innings average. Norris experienced some back tightness earlier in the spring, which could be an underlying issue if his struggles carry into the regular season.

2015 outlook: Norris deserves the benefit of the doubt after such a strong season in 2014 and should continue to be a reliable member of the rotation this season. Even with the strong Baltimore defense playing behind him, he probably won’t match his career-best ERA from a year ago, but still keeping that mark below 4.00 will set him up for a nice payday in free agency next winter.