September 26, 2021

Can John Means Build on a Strong Rookie Season? (FanGraphs)

26-year-old southpaw John Means put together an impressive rookie season for the Baltimore Orioles. As the most valuable pitcher on a team that placed at the bottom of the league in 2019 for pitching WAR, Means was one of only three Orioles starters to exceed 100 IP. The runner up to Yordan Alvarez for American League ROY, Means managed 16 second-place votes on the back of a 3.00 WAR campaign. His 3.60 ERA was the lowest of any Orioles pitcher (minimum 100 IP) since Wei-Yin Chin put up a 3.34 in 2015. Means also led the team in wins (12) and had the pitching staff’s lowest hard-hit rate (27.5%). Granted, the Orioles were one of the worst teams in baseball, so that alone doesn’t mean much, but when compared to the 75 other pitchers who threw at least 150 innings in 2019 (the cutoff used for all the stats to follow), his chase rate was the seventh-lowest, his zone contact rate was the 24th-lowest, and Means fell just outside of the top-50 in swinging strike rate.

Means hasn’t shown he has the stuff to blow hitters away. His 19% strikeout rate was well below the league average of 23%, though his walk rate (6%) ratioed well with his strikeouts when compared to other…

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