Norris and Burgess making strides in Arizona

Nationals outfielder Michael Burgess and catcher Derek Norris are working hard to play well and improve in their time with the Scottsdale Scorpions this month in at the Arizona Fall League.

Norris and Burgess are each batting above .300 with a combined three homers and 19 RBI through nine games.

Burgess is hitting .303 (10-33) with four runs, two doubles, a triple and seven RBI in nine games so far. He has struck out 11 times, but has committed just one error and is riding an eight-game hitting streak.

He continues to build off of a solid season at Potomac and Harrisburg. The first 101 games he hit .262 with 12 homers and 70 RBI with the P-Nats, and in 21 games with the Senators, he hit an amazing .284 with six homers and 15 RBI for an impressive .649 SLG percentage.

Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu watched Burgess last week and says the Tampa, Florida native has worked on shortening his swing a little and not getting over anxious at the plate.

“We want him to keep his swing short,” Schu said. “He is getting better because of his maturity. We want Burgess to not change his plan when he comes to the plate and stick with that plan.”

Burgess has responded recently with four straight games with at least one RBI, a total of six RBI during that span. He is hitting .333 with RISP and all seven of his RBI.

“Burgess is getting big hits with runners in scoring position,” Schu said. “We want to get him to not over swing. We don’t want him to try too hard and instead let his natural ability take over.”

Schu says Burgess did a nice job of hitting fastballs that were down and away, a few of those off the left field wall. He has not had many at bats against lefties, but has done well at .375 in eight at bats and an impressive .280 average against righties in the other 25 chances.

Meanwhile, Nationals catcher Derek Norris has been lighting it up from a power standpoint in Arizona. Norris had his biggest game of the Fall on Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a dramatic three-run homer and five RBI. It was his third homer of the AFL season.

“We talked to him and concentrated on being shorter to the ball with his swing”, Schu said. “We backed up his contact point. He had been out in front just a tick. His timing is starting to come around big time.”

Norris is batting .308 through 9 games, going 8-for-26 with 3 homers and 12 RBI for a nice SLG percentage of .808.

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