Norris tearing it up on both sides of plate

Norris tearing it up on both sides of plate

SAN DIEGO -- There's no denying Justin Upton's impact on the Padres' offense to this point -- 11 home runs, including nine at Petco Park.

But the guy hitting ahead of him in the lineup more often than not -- catcher Derek Norris -- might not be able to fly under the radar if he keeps up this torrid offensive pace.

Norris' 19 extra-base hits rated as the highest total among all National League catchers. That total is good for 10th-best overall and sixth in the NL among all players.

Norris throws out Bryant

Defensively, Norris has already thrown out 15 would-be base stealers -- the most in the big leagues. He threw out eight all of last season with the A's.

"He's been great. ... Very good on both sides, throwing out runners," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's gotten real big hits for us. He's been doing his part."

Norris' hot start hasn't gone unnoticed by opponents, as he forced two pitching changes in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Cubs.

Overall, Norris is hitting .291 with three home runs and 25 RBIs. He leads the team with 15 doubles and has one fewer hit (41) than Upton and Matt Kemp. The 25 RBIs are the most among NL catchers.

"He gives you a tough at-bat, he grinds it out, he fouls pitches off, he swings enough at the first pitch to make the pitcher leery of the first-pitch strike," Black said. "He gives you what you look for in a tough at-bat."

Norris has done most of his damage hitting second in the order, where he has a .315 batting average. His percentage of pitches seen has risen dramatically from a year ago, mostly because pitchers don't want to put him on base with Upton and Kemp looking behind him.

Norris' percentage of pitches seen inside the strike zone is 52.4 percent, up from 45.8 percent in 2014.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.