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What the Hell Ever Happened to…Norm Hutchins?

March 26, 2007 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Former Los Angeles Angels prospect Norm Hutchins flamed out because he didn't know the strike zone.
If you have an autographed Norm Hutchins card lying around, I have some bad news: you’re headed back to work tomorrow morning.

How many of you out there remember Norm Hutchins, the switch-hitting outfielder that the Angels grabbed in the second round (40th overall) back in 1994?

Hutchins spent four years on the Angels’ top prospect list (as per Baseball America), enjoying his finest season in 1998 when in just 89 Double-A games, he scored 74 runs, smacked 20 doubles, 10 triples and 10 homers, while swiping 32 bases with a .312 BA. Power, speed, average…and he did it as a 22-year-old.

So what the hell was the problem?

Pretty simple, really. Despite all his raw talent and blazing speed, Hutchins suffered from a complete lack of understanding of the strike zone, a problem that afflicts many young hitters. His BB/K ratio from that season was an ugly 14/84.

Disturbingly enough, however, that line looked good compared to his previous season when Hutchins walked 23 times against 147 strikeouts.

It was a trend that continued and the Angels finally tired of it, sending Hutchins to Colorado in a 2000 trade. After the season, Hutchins was let go and he signed with the Rays as a free agent. He spent one season in the Tampa Bay organization before having to look for work again.

Hutchins’ last stand was an an Expo. Signed as a minor league free agent in January 2002, he was cut from the team near the end of spring training, and that was all she wrote for Hutchins in organized ball.

He spent all or parts of four seasons at Triple-A, but never got the call to the Show, somewhat surprising given his speed. You’d think he could have been a useful pinch runner one September.

At any rate, after getting axxed by the Expos, Hutchins switched to Indy ball, joining Elmira of the Northeast League. He spent the next four years bouncing around the Atlantic League, enjoying some strong years, including an All-Star season in 2005, but he never got another sniff from a big league team.

Now 31, Hutchins spent last season with Bridgeport, and I honestly don’t know if he’ll be back for another kick at the can this year. After batting just .230, slugging only .371 and managing a mere nine steals in 2006, it might be the end of the line for player who was once pegged as a future Angel in the outfield.

Of, and that whole strike-zone judgment thing? Hutchins never did get over it, drawing only 21 walks against 67 Ks last season.

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168 Responses to “What the Hell Ever Happened to…Norm Hutchins?”

  1. [...] Mar 28th, 2007 by Jason Guarente Rob Blackstien forwarded me this article he wrote about Norm Hutchins. [...]

  2. Vennessa Hun says:

    He could probably be a better baseball player, but I heard that Norm is more interested in pale women over 50 who are overweight. Sad!

  3. RotoRob says:

    Ha ha, he likes the chubby cougars, eh? Fantastic. Thanks for the update, Vennessa!

  4. Norm says:

    Vennessa, you suck.

  5. RotoRob says:

    I believe the final word on this topic comes from Norm Hutchins himself. Norm, what are you doing with yourself these days? Did you play ball last year?

  6. alex former teamate h.s says:

    yo norm whats going on kid if you can read this holla at me i need to talk to you p.s all ya kats stop hatin on him.

  7. RotoRob says:

    There you go, Norm…you still have some fans who are defending you.

  8. Pat says:

    Is Norm a goofy guy? He looks normal. Just wondering?

  9. Tyrone Phillips and Wife says:

    My wife and I are former fans of Norm. We loved watching him. I cannot believe what I dumb comments are being posted on this website. We will always love Norm. He is a very talented player and very handsome too. We love you Norm and have all your signed cards. You are our hero. ♥

  10. RotoRob says:

    Pat, I have no idea, never met the guy. But plenty of people seem to be willing to sing his praises.

    Tyrone: Hey, what can I say? I am shocked at that woman’s comment, but it sure made for some juicy fighting. Thanks for setting the record straight on Norm.

  11. Sandy Prescott says:

    I am a big fan of Norm and I used to love watch him play. Is he still playing ball?

  12. RotoRob says:

    I assume he’ll be back in the Atlantic League this year, Sandy. He enjoyed a solid season in 2007, split between two teams. But I haven’t heard any news. Has anyone else?

  13. Jeremy says:

    The last time I’ve seen Norm was on an Adult Website called Horny Matches and Lonely Housewifes? Thats all I know.

  14. RotoRob says:

    Oh man, you guys are killing me!

  15. Mr.P former team mate says:

    Many people (fans) loved Norm. He is goodlooking, charming and fun to watch. All the negative comments people give are only because they envy him.

  16. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for your two cents, Mr. P. It definitely seems like the positive comments about Norm are tilting things in his favour, but it’s shocking how much controversy this has caused.

  17. Pete D. (fan) says:

    Who cares about what Norm looks like? Isn’t this supposed to be about Baseball? Some very strange male fans and former teammates you have there Norm lol..watch out who knows what balls they are into. Anyway, I am here to see if anybody knows if Norm will be back in the Atlantic League this year? Who has heard anything about him?

  18. RotoRob says:

    Hey Pete,

    What can I say, man? Norm has inspired a lot of insanity here. As for his future, check with these guys:
    http://albnews.blogspot.com/

    They know everything about the Atlantic League.

  19. Hanah (over 50) says:

    I just wish that he was more well endowed. I would be more of a fan.

  20. RotoRob says:

    Uh ya. I won’t even touch that one, Hanah.

  21. Liz Kahn says:

    Could you do me a favor, Mr. Blackstien and not display comments, like Hanah’s or Jeremys, which is absolutely not true about Norm. Maybe its one dumb person who is mad at him for some reason, and is posting all these insane thinks on this website. Its a disgrace, what they write about this man. He is a very nice, talented guy and does not deserve to be treated like this. Please remove all the ridiculous comments about him. I am surprised that you would post something that idiotic. Please remove it. Thank you, Rob.

  22. RotoRob says:

    Hey Liz,

    I’ll run your comments as a defense against the “idiotic” comments as you describe them. But I’m not here to censor my readers’ voices. I really have no idea why this post has inspired so many comments, but unless people cross the line (and a couple of silly comments is not crossing the line) I’m not about to restrict anyone’s right to speak their mind, your’s included.

  23. norm hutchins says:

    yo those comments are crazy but i guess if i was your average joe you guys wouldnt be going online and telling lies.good thing about is i know who i am and let me tell you its good to be me.i am playind in the golden baseball league in 2008 for long beach armada for you guys who wanted to know.thanx for the comments lol

  24. RotoRob says:

    Hi Norm,

    Thanks for checking in and letting us know where you’re at now; and I’m glad you aren’t letting some dumb comments get to you.

    Cheers

    RotoRob

  25. CAT says:

    Not your average joe, thats right! KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DO MR. HUTCHINS!!

  26. WOW says:

    Hutchins now Armada HR King
    By Weston Komathy
    8/12/2008

    A big congratulations to Armada outfielder and first baseman Norm “Home Run” Hutchins setting the single season HR mark at fifteen and counting. His record breaking blast came in yesterday’s contest against the Edmonton Cracker Cats.

    His home run breaks the previous mark held by Jaime Martinez at fourteen. Hutchins coming into the upcoming homestand is batting .310 with 15 HR and 47 RBI. He leads the team in HR, RBI and stolen bases with 13. From all of the fans of the Armada and the staff, a big congrats to “HOME RUN” Hutchins on this record and for many more at Blair Field this week.

  27. RotoRob says:

    Hey Weston,

    Thanks for the update! I’m very glad to hear that Norm is doing so well this season.

  28. WOW says:

    9/3/2008

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Armada needed extra innings to get the job done Wednesday night. Norm Hutchins’ walk off two-run inside-the-park homerun gave Long Beach the win, 5-4, over the Orange County Flyers in 11 innings at Blair Field. The South Division Championship Series will shift to Orange County this weekend tied, 1-1.

    Only one night after Orange County struck late to steal a victory in Game 1, Long Beach returned the favor to even the series.

    With the Armada trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Hutchins drove the first pitch he saw into deep center field, scoring Steve Moss from third base. While playing the fly ball, Flyers centerfielder and MVP candidate Pat Breen ran head-first into the brick outfield wall, and the ball fell by his side. By the time right fielder Mark Okano could run to Breen and throw the ball to the cut-off man, Hutchins was well on his way toward home plate for his Armada record-extending 16th home run of 2008.

    After a brief celebration at home plate, the emotion at Blair Field turned from jubilation to gloom with Breen still laying on the center field warning track. Trainers and paramedics helped him to his feet after a 15 minute period of silence and doubt. Breen left the field via ambulance and was taken to an area hospital. He did not lose consciousness but did have a cut over his left eye.

    The sight of players from rival teams waiting together as paramedics tended to Breen seemed almost unreal when only an hour earlier the dugouts and bullpens cleared for a near-brawl in the 8th inning.

    Orange County jumped out to a 3-0 lead, a small margin considering the 17 Flyers left on base in the game. OC held the Fleet scoreless until the bottom of the 6th. Armada third baseman Ryan Lehr smashed a 2-RBI triple to score Moss and Omar Bramasco, putting the Armada on the board, 2-3. Flyers starter Bob Cramer balked, scoring Lehr from third, tying the game, 3-3.

    In the top of the 8th, sailor-turned-Flyer Jeff LaRue flew out to right field with Flyers shortstop Jermy Acey on third base. Armada right fielder Julian Williams made the catch and launched the ball toward catcher David Ramirez at home plate, who blocked the plate from Acey on a clean play that turned ugly. Benches and bullpens cleared after Ramirez tried to tap Acey with the ball after the collision at the plate. No punches were thrown and no players were ejected.

    Hutchins (1-for-5, 2 RBI) and Lehr (2-for-5, 2 RBI) provided the offense while the Armada pitching staff held the prolific Flyers offense in check. Starter Rik Currier did not receive a decision after pitching five innings. He allowed 3 runs on 10 hits while striking out 5 and walking 4. After a scoreless inning of relief from Dusty Gober (2 SO, 1 BB), Nick Bierbrodt took the mound for the Fleet.

    Bierbrodt, a former major leaguer, pitched the final five innings of the game to earn the win (1-0). He gave up one earned run on four hits and totaled 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. Flyers closer Dane De La Rosa (0-1) took the loss, pitching the bottom of the 11th for OC.

    The Flyers host the Armada at Goodwin Field on Friday night in Game 3 of the best-of-five series to determine who will represent the South Division in the GBL Championship Series next week. Expected starters for the 7:05pm game are Orange County’s Matt Durkin and Long Beach’s Ryan Claypool.

  29. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for another update, WOW. Hutchins just keeps rolling. Any chance his exploits will draw interest from an MLB organization? And good to see some names I haven’t heard about it a while like Nick Bierbrodt and Ryan Lehr.

  30. I am who I am and thats who I am hehehe says:

    Who is WOW? Does he/she have a name?

    Check out the LB Armada website: http://www.longbeacharmada.com

    RotoRob, I never seen any MLB player wearing stud earrings.

  31. RotoRob says:

    Hey I am,

    I think WOW is Weston Komathy, as that’s who wrote the first posting under that handle.

    Anyhow, thanks for the link, but as for stud earrings, over the years there’s been plenty of players wearing ear bling.

  32. WOMAN says:

    I LOVE NORM HUTCHINS!!!!!

  33. RotoRob says:

    Hey Norm, you’ve got another fan!

  34. WOMAN2 says:

    I KNOW THAT FEELING OH SO WELL!

  35. RotoRob says:

    What feeling is that, woman2? The same feeling that woman had? Something you’re trying to tell us here?

  36. Gene a. valle says:

    whats up kid how you been!! havent seen you since h.s. hope all is well!!

  37. GAY GUY says:

    HEY WOMAN2, I KNOW THAT FEELING OH SO WELL TOO, AND I AM A GUY.

  38. RotoRob says:

    Okay, Norm…this is getting even weirder now.

  39. WOMAN2 says:

    That is funny! Sorry dude he does not go that way!

  40. RotoRob says:

    Ha ha…Woman2 is apparently in the know when it comes to Norm! Is it true, Norm? You only play for your team?

  41. KS says:

    lmao…for a married guy Norm sure gets a lot of love from women.

  42. RotoRob says:

    Amen to that, brother. Who would have ever dreamed that an article about Norm Hutchins would generate more life than anything I’ve ever written?

  43. Baseball fan says:

    check it…

    Golden Baseball League Ž

    LONG BEACH ARMADA—Traded 1B-OF Norm Hutchins to Edmonton for future considerations. 

  44. RotoRob says:

    Wow, thanks, baseball fan! You mean someone actually has some news as opposed to gossip about Norm? Crazy, man!

    So, Norm, you’re headed to the Great White North. Last time you played there was 10 years ago, also in Edmonton, at Triple-A — the closest you’ve ever come to the Show. How does it feel to be headed back? We haven’t heard from you in a while…poke your head in and give us an update!

  45. Mark says:

    This means that Norm is playing in Edmonton 2009?

    For what I’ve read and heard about Norm, it seems like he is a great athlete and a really nice, laid back guy who is easy to get along with.

    Norm, if you happen to poke your head in, please let us know where excately you will be playing ball 2009. I love to hear from you.

  46. RotoRob says:

    I guess so, Mark, according to Canadian Press, at any rate.

    There you go, Norm: your fans would like to hear from you. Give the people what they want!

  47. Anamaria says:

    I went to HS with Norm, I was a sophomore when he was a senior. I was a cheerleader and cheered for him during his football season. While I didn’t know him off the field personally, he was always very sweet and funny, great personality. I remember he got much love from the girls back then too! lol… Good to see he is still doing what he loves! Keep doin what you do best Norm, nevermind the haters!

  48. RotoRob says:

    Hi Anamaria,

    Always nice to hear from yet another fan of Norm’s. But what? Aren’t you going to post some cheerleader shots from back in the day? I’m sure my readers would love to see Norm’s cheerleaders! ;)

  49. Guess who says:

    Norm is the sweetest guy in the world!!!

  50. RotoRob says:

    That seems to be the consensus of most people here, Guess. Of course, there are a few who disagree and seem to like to stir the pot.

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