After designating righthander James Norwood for assignment to make room for catcher Tony Wolters, the Cubs flipped Norwood to the Padres for hard-throwing righthander Dauris Valdez. Valdez was San Diego’s No. 18 prospect at the time of the trade.
James Norwood, RHP
Norwood, the Cubs’ seventh-round pick out in 2014 of Saint Louis University, made his name as a hard-thrower. He’s gotten cups of coffee in the big leagues in each of the last three seasons, and his four-seam fastball in 2020 averaged 97.7 mph. He also throws a splitter, sinker and slider. Norwood has struggled with control each time he’s been in the majors, having walked 14 hitters in 22 innings.
Dauris Valdez, RHP
Much like Norwood, Valdez makes his money by throwing the heck out of the ball. His fastball topped at 102 mph during this past year’s instructional league, and he regularly parks his heater in triple-digits. A fastball’s quality is much more than velocity, however, and scouts have noted that the pitch is flat and plays down because of a lack of extension in his delivery.
Valdez worked hard to add power and sharpness to his breaking ball, and the result is a hard, 87-88 mph slider which gives him a second pitch to complement his fastball. He also has a changeup that touches 90 mph and shows potential as well. Both of Valdez’s offspeed pitches flash plus, but he needs to show more consistency with them. His control is below-average.