Oakland Athletics Spring Training Profile: Derek Norris

By Jacob Kornhauser
Derek Norris will battle to keep his job as the Athletics’ primary catcher. (Rick Osentoski – USA Today Sports)

Interestingly enough, the Oakland Athletics used three different catchers for pretty large chunks of the season. Derek Norris and John Jaso for example, both played in at least 70 games in 2013. The fact that the team used three different catchers means that those catchers are going to be competing with each other for roster spots this spring.

Out of the trio of Norris, Jaso and Stephen Vogt, only two are going to make the big league roster. Each player brings a particular skill set to the table and will make it difficult for Billy Beane and A’s management to make a decision pertaining to their catchers.

Norris played the most out of any Oakland catcher last season as he played in parts of 98 games. In those games, he batted .246 with nine home runs and 30 RBI. Clearly, he presents a little more of a power threat than the other catching candidates do.

A major attribute of Jaso is that he hits left-handed. That’s an important piece to have on your bench and the Athletics realize that. For that reason, Jaso has the inside track on at least securing a bench spot out of spring training.

Vogt is a bit of the wild card of this group. He also bats left-handed and has average power. He hit four home runs last year in just 135 at-bats. However, he doesn’t walk much and he strikes out quite a bit, so he could be on the outside looking in on this battle.

When it’s all said and done, Norris is the catcher that the Athletics trust the most. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done and that’s why he’s likely to be their primary catcher out of spring training. As long as he plays his role and continues to improve as spring training becomes the regular season, then he will be helping Oakland as it makes yet another playoff run.

Jacob Kornhauser is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. Add him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google+ network. 

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