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I'm also highly principled, and when I make a stand I stick to my guns.

That sounds cool and all, but sometimes it's not a bad idea to keep an open mind and continue looking at both sides.

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Mark,

Do you believe the only way - or alternatively - the most effective way, for a young pitcher to learn consistency and develop mental make-up to a level necessary to be an effective MLB starter is to throw 50 pitches in an inning when things aren't going his way?

I know there is no one, or easy, answer to this question. I am curious to know your thoughts on the subject.

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Norris’ inability to corral runaway opponent rallies as a 22-year-old rookie isn’t to be taken as a permanent sign that he lacks the makeup or any other essential quality of a starting pitcher. There’s an argument for removing him from that situation, figuring that a trial by fire isn’t a very fair one, and that there must be some less dangerous way of helping Norris sort through this specific problem. I’m open to that argument.

That's where I am. One outing isn't likely to tell them anything.

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Except that the premise is basically incorrect. Norris was *not*having a performance breakdown. The 1st inning last night was not within Norris' control to have changed. His team made him get 5 outs and the umpire walked Fielder on two pitches that were 6 inches inside the K zone. Remove the factors completely outside his control and he would have been out of the inning in 30 pitches or less and maybe 2 runs - a high but completely common number against a team like Texas. There was nothing for him to have 'learned' as there was nothing particularly wrong with his pitching. Yes, if he can develop more swing and miss skill that would help him in such a situation, but the idea that working long in an inning somehow helps you develop swing and miss skill is ludicrous. That is a matter of new or refined pitches in the repertoire - basically BP work.

This argument applied in this case is roughly equivalent to saying that getting sacked helps a quarterback improve his accuracy on long passes.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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Mark,

Do you believe the only way - or alternatively - the most effective way, for a young pitcher to learn consistency and develop mental make-up to a level necessary to be an effective MLB starter is to throw 50 pitches in an inning when things aren't going his way?

I know there is no one, or easy, answer to this question. I am curious to know your thoughts on the subject.

You're absolutely right that there is no "one way" to accomplish this. I've always been a big believer that players learn how to handle adversity by actually being subjected to it.

The guy that's always been the best player at every level he's ever played; has never struggled with anything, is a guy that I view as likely to struggle at some point in the upper minors or big leagues until he learns how to deal with the adversity of not being the best player on the field all the time. I've seen it happen a lot. When you don't have to face adversity, you don't know how to handle it, and you have to learn.

In Norris' case, while I won't endorse or criticize the 50+ pitch inning because I don't have all the data available to me that the decision makers had, I can see a scenario where it is a beneficial developmental step; assuming you determine his health was not in jeopardy, which despite the claims of the interwebs, people don't actually know with any level of confidence.

Dating back to high school (and this is coming from my own observation of him in high school, and talking to others with deeper exposure to the player during that time, and since), one of Norris' biggest knocks was that he was "soft," and couldn't handle adversity or things not going his way; his performance unraveled quickly when things got rocky. I witnessed it on multiple occasions with my own eyes. It was a tag he still carried when he was traded to the Tigers. He hasn't been able to shake it, rightly or wrongly. If the Tigers view one of his last developmental steps as dealing with adversity and continuing to execute in the face of things outside of your control impacting your performance, then maybe the decision yesterday has some merit.

From my own beliefs on player (and more generically, professional) development, I think there are scenarios where hanging someone out there to twist in the wind and fight is a necessary evil to find out what they are really made of and help make a determination about what developmental needs they have going forward, and possibly, how they fit in your plans going forward. There are professionals that I would do this with, and there are professionals I would not do this with. It all depends on my relationship with them, where they are in the developmental arc we have planned for them, and how controlled the environment needs to be for the developmental gains to be realized.

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You're absolutely right that there is no "one way" to accomplish this. I've always been a big believer that players learn how to handle adversity by actually being subjected to it.

The guy that's always been the best player at every level he's ever played; has never struggled with anything, is a guy that I view as likely to struggle at some point in the upper minors or big leagues until he learns how to deal with the adversity of not being the best player on the field all the time. I've seen it happen a lot. When you don't have to face adversity, you don't know how to handle it, and you have to learn.

In Norris' case, while I won't endorse or criticize the 50+ pitch inning because I don't have all the data available to me that the decision makers had, I can see a scenario where it is a beneficial developmental step; assuming you determine his health was not in jeopardy, which despite the claims of the interwebs, people don't actually know with any level of confidence.

Dating back to high school (and this is coming from my own observation of him in high school, and talking to others with deeper exposure to the player during that time, and since), one of Norris' biggest knocks was that he was "soft," and couldn't handle adversity or things not going his way; his performance unraveled quickly when things got rocky. I witnessed it on multiple occasions with my own eyes. It was a tag he still carried when he was traded to the Tigers. He hasn't been able to shake it, rightly or wrongly. If the Tigers view one of his last developmental steps as dealing with adversity and continuing to execute in the face of things outside of your control impacting your performance, then maybe the decision yesterday has some merit.

From my own beliefs on player (and more generically, professional) development, I think there are scenarios where hanging someone out there to twist in the wind and fight is a necessary evil to find out what they are really made of and help make a determination about what developmental needs they have going forward, and possibly, how they fit in your plans going forward. There are professionals that I would do this with, and there are professionals I would not do this with. It all depends on my relationship with them, where they are in the developmental arc we have planned for them, and how controlled the environment needs to be for the developmental gains to be realized.

Very informative.... Thanks.

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....

Dating back to high school (and this is coming from my own observation of him in high school, and talking to others with deeper exposure to the player during that time, and since), one of Norris' biggest knocks was that he was "soft," and couldn't handle adversity or things not going his way; his performance unraveled quickly when things got rocky. ....

Exactly, but watch the film. His 'performance' was not what unraveled last night, it was everything else around him. If anything he was the one island of cool and kept pitching just fine. He threw one wild pitch. He gave up 3 hard hit balls across nine batters, that would have been a WHIP of ~1.3 if his fielders fielded and he walks no-one if the ump doesn't give Fielder a walk on *two* clear missed strikes in a single AB. The idea that the inning was a disaster because he pitched poorly in it is just false.

This was not Armando Galarraga getting lit up because he was frustrated and couldn't command his fastball. No, he wasn't Cy Young out there, but he wasn't in any particular need of a 'lesson' in gutting it out either.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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Exactly, but watch the film. His 'performance' was not what unraveled last night, it was everything else around him. If anything he was the one island of cool and kept pitching just fine. He threw one wild pitch. He gave up 3 hard hit balls across nine batters, that would have been a WHIP of ~1.3 if his fielders fielded and he walks no-one if the ump doesn't give Fielder a walk on *two* clear missed strikes in a single AB. The idea that the inning was a disaster because he pitched poorly in it is just false.

This was not Armando Galarraga getting lit up because he was frustrated and couldn't command his fastball. No, he wasn't Cy Young out there, but he wasn't in any particular need of a 'lesson' in gutting it out either.

Where did I indicate that Norris' performance unraveled because things weren't going his way last night? I indicated that he has a history of that and this was a developmental step he needed to make. The Tigers left him in there under adverse conditions that continued to worsen for reasons not within his control. He continued to execute his pitches, mostly anyway, and did what he could to get out of it. That's a positive and necessary step forward for him.

There's a line of thinking here that what he demonstrated last night was a strong developmental movement; something scouts and coaches have been waiting for from him. He doesn't get the chance to do that if he's not left in the game; instead he's rushed out of the game because of his pitch count and misses out on the developmental opportunity and chance to prove himself.

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Where did I indicate that Norris' performance unraveled because things weren't going his way last night? I indicated that he has a history of that and this was a developmental step he needed to make. The Tigers left him in there under adverse conditions that continued to worsen for reasons not within his control. He continued to execute his pitches, mostly anyway, and did what he could to get out of it. That's a positive and necessary step forward for him.

There's a line of thinking here that what he demonstrated last night was a strong developmental movement; something scouts and coaches have been waiting for from him. He doesn't get the chance to do that if he's not left in the game; instead he's rushed out of the game because of his pitch count and misses out on the developmental opportunity and chance to prove himself.

Thats fair. Your post could be read to imply the other and the 'popular' reading' including Rod last night, has been it was a Norris 'fail' so i was taking the opportunity to counter that take

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Exactly, but watch the film. His 'performance' was not what unraveled last night, it was everything else around him. If anything he was the one island of cool and kept pitching just fine. He threw one wild pitch. He gave up 3 hard hit balls across nine batters, that would have been a WHIP of ~1.3 if his fielders fielded and he walks no-one if the ump doesn't give Fielder a walk on *two* clear missed strikes in a single AB. The idea that the inning was a disaster because he pitched poorly in it is just false.

This was not Armando Galarraga getting lit up because he was frustrated and couldn't command his fastball. No, he wasn't Cy Young out there, but he wasn't in any particular need of a 'lesson' in gutting it out either.

Maybe the fact he didn't unravel is the very thing the Tigers were trying suss out.

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I'm torn on this one. 50+ pitches in an inning for a 22 year old old in meaningless play seems very odd for me to comprehend. At the same time, maybe this turns out to be a moment that he says in 2016 helped him grow up a bit. I'd watch Norris quite a bit in person when he pitched for the Lansing Lugnuts. He really was in his own league and coasted through the innings, as Mark eluded to.

I think from the uber-talented there is a tenancy to coast or assume high levels of achievement are destined. Maybe this was good for him. That being said, he throws out his arm or we hear of an issue, this will be one of the worst managerial decisions in 2015.

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You're absolutely right that there is no "one way" to accomplish this. I've always been a big believer that players learn how to handle adversity by actually being subjected to it.

The guy that's always been the best player at every level he's ever played; has never struggled with anything, is a guy that I view as likely to struggle at some point in the upper minors or big leagues until he learns how to deal with the adversity of not being the best player on the field all the time. I've seen it happen a lot. When you don't have to face adversity, you don't know how to handle it, and you have to learn.

In Norris' case, while I won't endorse or criticize the 50+ pitch inning because I don't have all the data available to me that the decision makers had, I can see a scenario where it is a beneficial developmental step; assuming you determine his health was not in jeopardy, which despite the claims of the interwebs, people don't actually know with any level of confidence.

Dating back to high school (and this is coming from my own observation of him in high school, and talking to others with deeper exposure to the player during that time, and since), one of Norris' biggest knocks was that he was "soft," and couldn't handle adversity or things not going his way; his performance unraveled quickly when things got rocky. I witnessed it on multiple occasions with my own eyes. It was a tag he still carried when he was traded to the Tigers. He hasn't been able to shake it, rightly or wrongly. If the Tigers view one of his last developmental steps as dealing with adversity and continuing to execute in the face of things outside of your control impacting your performance, then maybe the decision yesterday has some merit.

From my own beliefs on player (and more generically, professional) development, I think there are scenarios where hanging someone out there to twist in the wind and fight is a necessary evil to find out what they are really made of and help make a determination about what developmental needs they have going forward, and possibly, how they fit in your plans going forward. There are professionals that I would do this with, and there are professionals I would not do this with. It all depends on my relationship with them, where they are in the developmental arc we have planned for them, and how controlled the environment needs to be for the developmental gains to be realized.

Posts like these are why I frequent the site.

Thank you for your detailed answer.

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You're absolutely right that there is no "one way" to accomplish this. I've always been a big believer that players learn how to handle adversity by actually being subjected to it.

The guy that's always been the best player at every level he's ever played; has never struggled with anything, is a guy that I view as likely to struggle at some point in the upper minors or big leagues until he learns how to deal with the adversity of not being the best player on the field all the time. I've seen it happen a lot. When you don't have to face adversity, you don't know how to handle it, and you have to learn.

In Norris' case, while I won't endorse or criticize the 50+ pitch inning because I don't have all the data available to me that the decision makers had, I can see a scenario where it is a beneficial developmental step; assuming you determine his health was not in jeopardy, which despite the claims of the interwebs, people don't actually know with any level of confidence.

Dating back to high school (and this is coming from my own observation of him in high school, and talking to others with deeper exposure to the player during that time, and since), one of Norris' biggest knocks was that he was "soft," and couldn't handle adversity or things not going his way; his performance unraveled quickly when things got rocky. I witnessed it on multiple occasions with my own eyes. It was a tag he still carried when he was traded to the Tigers. He hasn't been able to shake it, rightly or wrongly. If the Tigers view one of his last developmental steps as dealing with adversity and continuing to execute in the face of things outside of your control impacting your performance, then maybe the decision yesterday has some merit.

From my own beliefs on player (and more generically, professional) development, I think there are scenarios where hanging someone out there to twist in the wind and fight is a necessary evil to find out what they are really made of and help make a determination about what developmental needs they have going forward, and possibly, how they fit in your plans going forward. There are professionals that I would do this with, and there are professionals I would not do this with. It all depends on my relationship with them, where they are in the developmental arc we have planned for them, and how controlled the environment needs to be for the developmental gains to be realized.

Good stuff! Thanks Micro.

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Maybe the fact he didn't unravel is the very thing the Tigers were trying suss out.

Not hard to believe that may be the case. A poor idea none the less. The dude lived in a van down by the river...true hippie style. Now we are expecting him to gain some sort of killer instinct?

Norris has a lot of talent, but he seems to have a Stafford mentality. They should bring in Doug Gilmour and Wendal Clark to talk to him.

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From my own beliefs on player (and more generically, professional) development, I think there are scenarios where hanging someone out there to twist in the wind and fight is a necessary evil to find out what they are really made of and help make a determination about what developmental needs they have going forward, and possibly, how they fit in your plans going forward. There are professionals that I would do this with, and there are professionals I would not do this with. It all depends on my relationship with them, where they are in the developmental arc we have planned for them, and how controlled the environment needs to be for the developmental gains to be realized.

There is quite a loud difference between twisting in the wind and risking injury. Not comfortable with the line that is being flirted here.

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Maybe the fact he didn't unravel is the very thing the Tigers were trying suss out.

Well, we may be projecting more than was at play here - I think they just wanted to get him to 70 against live pitching and he didn't get to 70 quite the way they would have planned it.

I think we can draw additional evidence that Ausmus, for as Milquetoast as he may look to some, is not one to physically coddle players. We've seen evidence of his attitude in that direction before so it wasn't a big surprise. The debate as to whether he is wise or foolish in that regard is a good one.

I'm wondering if maybe Kevin Rand should/could compensate by being a little more aggressive in his protection of players than he had to be under Leyland - though that doesn't relate to last night in particular. Last night wasn't a place a trainer would likely have been asked his opinion....

Edited by Gehringer_2

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I'm pretty sure that Brad and the coaches and the front office staff are aware of all the considerations brought up here and think about it when playing out scenarios and situations they are likely to face. I also don't necessarily buy that they left him in strictly for pitch count purposes, maybe they did...... that's the 'official' story but I doubt they'd come out and say they were doing what Micro suggested they could have been doing. They keep that to themselves.

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