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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Why Is Connor Norby Still in the Minors?

O's No.6 prospect is MLB ready, but he isn't in the MLB

*Cover Photo Credit: Kate Kirsch

Everytime I see Connor Norby on the Norfolk Tides' highlight reels and Instagram posts, I cannot help but ask myself one thing.

Why is he still in the Minor Leagues?

Well technically, I know why. It is just a common rhetorical question that I ask myself because he should not still be in Triple-A.

Connor Norby's path to the show has been longer than expected & tricky. Photo: John Topoleski

Here is the issue. Norby is part of an elite Minor League infield prospect class that consists of some of baseball's best infield prospects. He's teammates with Jackson Holliday (MLB No. 1) and Coby Mayo (MLB No. 23), and he's also teammates with some of the orgaization's most recognized rising stars including Billy Cook (O's No. 30). In addition, some of his past competition are already everyday Orioles. I am specifically talking about Jordan Westburg and 2023 AL Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson, and of course former Orioles prospect Joey Ortiz is playing everyday for the Milwaukee Brewers. If that was not enough, there are other infield prospects climbing behind him in the lower levels including Max Wagner, Frederick Bencosme, and Mac Horvath.

Everybody is competing to make it to the big leagues in Oriole orange and black so they have a chance to compete in the postseason. Norby is one of them. Even as talented as he is, he is still lower in the charts behind guys like No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday, who has already made his big league debut, and Coby Mayo, who was darn near his own debut too had fractured ribs not derailed his development.

I guarantee you that had he been developed elsewhere in another organization like Minnesota or Washington, he would have already been a Major League by now. This is not to say that I do not appreciate Norby in Birdland. As a matter of fact, I love that Norby has developed himself in Birdland, and it has been fun seeing him grow and develop into the player that he is today. It is just an unfortunate concidence that he is both developing and competiting with/against his teammates and best friends who happen to be MLB's elite crop of infield prospects.

I'm saying he would have been a big league by now because of the way he has played his entire Minor League career. So far this season, he is a .296 hitter with 8 HR and 29 RBI. He also has a .908 OPS and is slugging .528 with 84 total bases. In 4 career Minor League seasons, he is a .284 hitter with 376 hits, 61 home runs, 213 RBI, and a respectable .861 OPS. It was not that long ago in 2022 when he slugged 29 home runs.

He is rightfully so ranked the Orioles' No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and he really should be somewhere on MLB's Top 100 prospects list.

Many fans, including me, feel that Norby is MLB ready and we are waiting with him for the call.

When you look at his statline and when you watch him play, the end thought should be that Connor Norby deserves to be in the big leagues. He should be playing everyday somewhere, and he should definitely not be a bench player in Baltimore stuck behind the Orioles' starting infield.

The problem is that you cannot just trade him by himself. You cannot just trade any of the Orioles' prospect by themselves and be satisfied with nothing in return. The Orioles are not trading "just because we feel bad for you and we want the best for you." They will only trade their top prospects if they know that they are getting something serviceable in return and if the investment is worth it.

Norby is way too valuable of a prospect, and you need to (a) get a quality return and (b) put him in a package proposal in return. Perhaps as the Orioles seek bullpen help and a new closer until Felix Bautista returns in 2025, this is where they can include Norby in a package deal.

I love Norby. He is a talented infielder who has a big league future ahead of him and who gave me some helpful college advice a couple of years back. I want him to get a big league shot somewhere, and sadly I am doubtful that it will be in Baltimore. However, as I just said, you cannot just trade him. I'm only comfortable seeing him go so long as the Orioles get something good in return.

That does not take away from the fact that it still pains me to see Norby still stuck in the Minor Leagues. He graduated the minors last season, yet he is still stuck there.

But he'll get the call one day. When and how? I don't know.

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