Nationals top hitting prospect, Derek Norris, was sent to the hospital last night after being struck in the head with a fastball. According to reports, Norris laid motionless for nearly 10 minutes after the beaning.
Nationals.com writer Bill Ladson tweeted today that Norris is doing okay now, but will miss five-to-seven days in recovery.
Luckily Norris was wearing the new S100 helmet, designed to protect hitters from fastballs up to speeds of 100 MPH:
Norris was wearing an S100 helmet, which became mandatory for all Minor Leaguers this season following a spate of beanings in the Majors last year. Manufactured by Rawlings Sporting Goods, the helmets feature enhanced protection from a composite insert and an expanded liner made of Polypropylene, a hard, supportive material that is also used in some industrial and bicycle helmets. According to Mike Thompson, Rawlings senior vice president for sports marketing and business development, the helmet can withstand a pitch up to 100 mph.
Poor Norris. The kid can flat out hit, but he can’t seem to stay healthy this year. He has produced well the last three seasons in the lower-level minor leagues. Turning 21 this season, this was supposed to be the year that Norris rocketed himself through Single-A, past Double-A, and hopefully earn himself a cup of coffee in Syracuse.
Things have not gone the catchers way so far this spring, however. An array of injuries has kept the super-talented hitting catcher to only 13 games on the field. The inconsistency of his playing time (due to said injuries) had led to poor results initially on the field. He was finally starting to put it together as he was batting .317/.472/.439 in Potomac before the beaning.
Now he will have to wait another week before he gets on the field again, and then, he has to battle the mental demons that can hurt a hitter after such a vicious beaning. One has to look no further than David Wright to see what a fastball to the head can do to even the most talented hitters.
For Norris, it’s an uphill battle, but it’s one that the 21-year-old future star must overcome if he wants to make it in a Nationals uniform.