Righty Norwood gives Cubs upside in seventh round

Righty Norwood gives Cubs upside in seventh round

CHICAGO -- James Norwood was projected to be taken in the early rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, but an elbow injury may have prompted some teams to pass. The Cubs liked the potential in the right-hander, selecting Norwood with the 199th pick in the seventh round on Friday.

Norwood was winless and battled an elbow strain his sophomore year at St. Louis University in 2013. He came back strong. His fastball was clocked up to 98 mph, and he was steadily in the 91-95 mph range with some sink. He has yet to develop a quality secondary pitch, and that will determine his role.

Norwood, who took over as the Billikens' Friday starter in 2014, earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors by going 8-2 -- the second-most single-season wins in school history -- with a 2.68 ERA and 64 strikeouts over 15 starts and 94 innings. He struck out nine against Wake Forest over five innings, and threw a complete game against Richmond on April 18, giving up two hits and striking out six. On March 21, he threw a one-hit shutout against Rhode Island.

A finance major, the New York native threw the first no-hitter in All Hallows High School history. With his selection, St. Louis has had a player drafted in back-to-back years. The D-backs picked catcher Grant Nelson in 2013.

Norwood was ranked by Baseball America as the 76th best prospect going into the Draft. Nearly 20 scouts saw the 20-year-old right-hander hit 97 mph on the radar gun during an exhibition game last fall against the Ontario Blue Jays.

"It was all over Twitter," St. Louis coach Darin Hendrickson told FOX Sports Midwest. "I think when that started happening, we all figured that we've got something going here."

Hendrickson also admitted that Norwood still has some developing to do.

"That's why, if I was a scout, I'd be excited from that end to know that I'm going to get more from this guy," Hendrickson said. "He only has 100 college innings in his arm. Some guys have that this year, and they are going to bust that this week in the Regionals and Super Regionals. That's something to look at, too.

"There are a lot of plusses about James. He's going to have to figure some things out with his secondary stuff and get after it pretty hard when he gets to his pro club, and I know he will. He's a worker. He's a good kid and represented SLU well and he's going to do real well down the road."

Norwood is the fifth pitcher the Cubs selected in the Draft.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon CT.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.