Baltimore Orioles All-Star John Means
While the team campaigned hard for Trey Mancini to be an All-Star in 2019, the All-Star representative for the Baltimore Orioles is rookie pitcher John Means. Means has been a highlight of an otherwise sub-par season. At 26, Means is a little older than the average rookie, but he spent five years developing in the Orioles farm system. The 2014 11th round pick out of West Virginia only pitched 3 1/3 innings in 2018, giving up five runs.
John Means has made 17 appearances this season, with 13 of those being starts. Means is 7-4 with a 2.50 ERA. Although he is just shy of the innings requirement to be considered a qualifier, he would be third in the AL and sixth in all of baseball in ERA if he qualified. With a WHIP of 1.09, he would be tied for tenth in the AL. Of the astronomical 165 home runs surrendered by the Orioles this season, Means has only allowed eight. Means truly has been a diamond in the rough. This rookie has been absolutely sensational this season.
John Means is shaping up to be a solid American League Rookie of the Year candidate. As of June 27, Baseball America had Means in second in the AL ROY race. With names like Eloy Jimenez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., it makes sense that a guy like John Means would slip through the cracks. But with both Jimenez and Guerrero missing time this season, Means is a candidate to watch. Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe is currently the frontrunner and in a situation very similar to Means. Both are in a small market on teams that often get overlooked and forgotten. If he can keep pitching the way he has been, Means should gain ground on Lowe and strengthen his case for Rookie of the Year.
The Future for John Means
It is still very early in his career, but Means may be able to become a cornerstone to build the rotation around. This should help take pressure off of Dylan Bundy, who has shown that he can be an effect back-end starter. This will also help take the pressure off prospect Hunter Harvey, as he won’t be looked at to save the rotation much like Bundy was. If Means can continue this success, the Orioles are looking a lot better than they did at the beginning of the 2019 season
The only drawback, as previously mentioned, is his age. With Means being old for a rookie, his time in his prime is going to be a lot less than if he was 23-24. The problem for the Orioles at this point is that their two best players are 26 and 27 and no more than two seasons removed from their rookie years. Those players are Means and Trey Mancini. The question for management becomes what to do with those players. Does management trade them for prospects and really look to rebuild? Or does management keep them and build around them? These questions likely won’t be answered until August, after the trade deadline.
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