Norris, Meyers earn special honors

The Nationals named catcher Derek Norris as their Minor League Player of the Year and right-hander Brad Meyers as their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. 

Norris, 20, hit .286 with 23 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored in 126 games with Class-A Hagerstown. He paced full-season Washington farmhands in home runs, walks (90), on-base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.513) and OPS (.926).

For his efforts, the right-handed hitting slugger was named by the South Atlantic League as its Most Outstanding Major League Prospect.  He was recently cited in Baseball America’s annual Best Tools survey voted upon by league managers as the Best Batting Prospect and Best Power Prospect in the SAL.  He was selected by Washington in the fourth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Norris credits manager Matt LeCroy, a former big-;league catcher, for his success this season.   

“Our manager  made it easy on us,” Norris said. “He was really fun to be around. He taught me a lot about the game and how to handle different things.”

Norris is still a work in progress behind the plate. To get better, Norris will play in the Instructional League in and then hone his skills in the Arizona Fall League.

“I have to learn to stay focused in every single pitch and not take any pitches off,” Norris said. “When you take a pitch off, it makes it look like you are not trying, makes you look lazy.”        

Meyers, Washington’s fifth-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, went a combined 11-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 24 games with Double-A Harrisburg and Class-A Potomac.  Meyers’ 1.72 ERA led all full-season minor league pitchers.  He allowed two earned runs or less 20 of 23 starts this season.

The 24-year-old went 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA and a 3.9/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (43 K/11 BB) in nine starts with Harrisburg. Prior to his July 7 promotion to Harrisburg, Meyers dominated the Carolina League, going 6-2 with a league-best 1.43 ERA  in 15 games with Potomac.  He was selected as a mid-season Carolina League All-Star. 

The Loyola Marymount (CA) University product twice earned Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors (May 4-10 and June 29-July 5).

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