JP Howell, Bud Norris Shut Down

A couple of quick, early morning fantasy notes that I wanted to touch upon.

First, the Tampa Bay Rays shut down closer JP Howell. Howell has logged a lot of innings the last couple of years and with the Rays out of the pennant race, I am sure Howell could use the rest.

Howell was shut down by the Rays

Howell was shut down by the Rays

Despite finishing the season with 18 saves and increasing his K/9 ratio from 2008 (9.27 to 10.67), Howell had a rather unspectacular season. He has blown an American League high (tied with Mark Lowe of the Seattle Mariners) eight saves and his ERA, WHIP, HR/9, and BB/9 all increased from 2008.

I fully expect the Rays to go out and get a legitimate closer for 2010, so Howell’s days of having fantasy value might be over. Look for Dan Wheeler to get first crack at save opportunities for the final week.

Second, the Houston Astros shut down RHP Bud Norris. Norris has logged 175.2 innings in 2009 between Triple-A and the big leagues, so the Astros didn’t want to push the 24-year-old.

Like most rookie pitchers. Norris was inconsistent in his first stint facing big-league batters. Despite striking out almost a batter per inning (54 K’s in 55.2 IP), Norris also walked almost a batter every two innings (25 walks in 55.2 IP).

Norris needs to cut down on the walks if he wants to be a successful major league pitcher.

Norris should start the 2010 season with the Astros right out Spring Training.  Look for Norris to be the No. three or four starter behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez.


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