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NBC Sports article on Means:
Insider’s Take: Alex Smith wants to play football again
The last player to make the Opening Day roster for the worst team in baseball just three months ago is now an MLB All-Star.
John Means can hardly believe it either.
“I was sitting there and I said ‘You’re joking, this isn’t that funny,” Means told MLB.com after finding out about his selection to the 2019 All-Star Game.
His reaction is hardly surprising. Means was never supposed to be the ace of a staff, or an organization’s lone All-Star representative. Even in Baltimore, the All-Star push surrounded Trey Mancini, not Means.
As noted above, Means barely made this year’s team out of camp. He was never a prospect with much pedigree, drafted out of West Virginia in the 11th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Players picked that late are often lucky to make it to the upper minors; now Means is dominating the majors.
Means made one appearance on MLB Pipeline’s annual prospect rankings, debuting in 2017 at number 29.
To be clear, that was 29th-best in a poorly-rated Orioles farm system, not 29th overall in baseball. And by 2018, he had already fallen back off the list.
A player who never made a single minor league All-Star Game is now headed to the Midsummer Classic at the highest possible level. It’s the culmination of a journey no one saw coming. And yet, it’s also a beginning of sorts. Means is only a rookie after all, which adds to his feat.
He is now the first rookie pitcher to make the All-Star team for the Orioles since 1960, just six seasons after the franchise originally came to Baltimore. Hall of Famer Mike Mussina didn’t do it. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer didn’t do it. John Means did.
How great has Means been in 2019? Thanks to an inauspicious one-game debut in 2018, Means’ Wins Above Replacement this season (3.2) is actually greater than his career WAR (3.1). He’s 7-4, with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
If he had pitched enough innings to qualify, his ERA would rank third in the American League, just 0.1 away from first.
Means doesn’t throw with much velocity, but the peripherals highlight a modern breakout archetype. His fastball spin rate is well above average, as is his hard-hit rate. And rather than force his fastball, he has also learned to lean heavily on his best pitch: a putaway changeup that rates as the eighth-best in all of baseball, according to Fangraphs.
It all tells the story of a pitcher who’s taken well to the analytically-driven approach of the new regime in Baltimore. And now, after a brilliant first half to his rookie season, he’s being rewarded for his hard work.
The Orioles are required to have an All-Star representative, but don’t mistake his lack of preseason expectations for an undeserving candidate. John Means has objectively been one of the American League’s best pitchers in 2019.
Just because not even Means himself saw it coming hasn’t made it any less impressive, or fun, to watch. If the Orioles are ever going to pull themselves out of baseball’s cellar, they’re going to need to unearth a hidden gem or two.
It appears they’ve done just that with their 26-year-old rookie pitcher. And it clearly, ahem, “Means” a whole lot to both the player, and the organization who gave him a chance.
So FanDuel picks WVU to finish 9th in the Big 12, ahead of only Kansas.
Neal Brown dispute that?
Seems rather harsh, despite the exodus of talent from the 2018 team.
Since WVU will get 3 more years of McCabe it’s not high on my priority list.
Finding someone who can muscle and score in the paint is high on my priority list.
Finding a 3-point shooter in the Steph Currey mode is really high on my priority list.
Finding enough defenders to restore Press Virginia to its previous zenith is on my priority list.
Mountaineers drafted by NFL teams
Will Grier Round 3 Panthers
Yodny Cajuste Round 3 Patriots
Gary Jennings Round 4 Eagles
Trevon Wesco Round 4 Jets
David Long Round 6 Titans
6 or 7 so far?
My math isn’t strong today so don’t hold me to it.
NO ONE knows how the draftees will turn out.
Hell, the “experts” didn’t even get most of their mock draft choices right.
A major difference between college and pro talent.
Major Harris didn’t make it. Marc Bulger did. No one would have predicted those two outcomes when the draft was held.
Simms would be a valuable asset for WVU. But I agree with Kevin: It’s more important that Marcus gets Marcus straightened out in the long run. I hope he does. Only then will I hope that he can help the new head coach make WVU a force in the Big 12 and, God can only help, nationally.
Every Big 12 team that wins a game helps WVU’s image when it plays the Big 12 teams.
It’s take simple to me.
So, Texas Tech, blow away the Final Four and Title Game opponent.
The guy who got 42 and lost against Virginia caused flashbacks to Jerry West against California in the NCAA title game. Jerry was the first, and maybe the only, MVP choice from a team that didn’t win the title.
WVU may set Big 12 record for most layups allowed in a season.
Worst season in 20 years.
As painful as it is for me, it must be excrusciating for Huggins.
Make the pain go away.February 13, 2019 at 1:02 pm in reply to: Opinion: Transfer rules starting to catch up with the modern world #82801
If coaches can switch schools, why can’t players? It’s not whether we like it, but freedom of choice.
It’s tough to comment when we don’t know the full story.
For Bob and Shane to agree on it makes it pretty serious. When was the last time two starters were kicked off the team?
At long last Huggins got through. I’ve been waiting all season for the offense to penetrate, not throw up 3’s. Inside work is best of season. Now, let’s keep it up for 2nd half. No letup! Huggins’ way. All the way.
Asa also can’t drive and drill a basket, so even when you get him the ball on the run he’s soft in executing his shot. Have you ever seen Asa slam-dunk while being guarded?
I have always respected the job that Gibby did at WVU, particularly with the lack of resources and injuries this season. I wish him well, except for the WVU game.
The day will come when the new WVU DC will be chastised and Gibby used as a role model for better days. It’s the nature of fans.
As for me, I just go to Mountaineer Field and enjoy the games as long as I’m ambulatory and above ground. I still consider it the great sports bargain in the world for me.
If the rest of the team had half the drive, energy and passion of Beetle then WVU would be 4-0 in the Big 12.
Never seen a Huggins team miss so many LAYUPS!
Cowboys surely can’t keep popping in 3’s like they are layups. I can only hope.
I see evidence of more effort, but this truly is The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight.
At least WVU is penetrating inside the 3’s line for a change. That’s a hopeful sign.
It is painful to watch this team. I know they are trying. And they are trying to watch.
As usual we’re all reading tea leaves, other than Kevin. That’s historically inaccurate.
We’ll just to wait till we see Neal Brown in action, particularly in Mountaineer Field.
I think we’ll ALL be wiser after the James Madison, Missouri, North Carolina State, Kansas and Texas games.
If WVU is 5-0 the Big 12 title talk will skyrocket.
If WVU is 2-3 the lynch mob will be buying new rope.
It’s the nature of fans everywhere.January 6, 2019 at 11:23 pm in reply to: Without Sags the sinkhole just got deeper and more insurmountable. #79230
He ain’t won 850+ games by being a quitter. I’m thinking he’ll make some lemonade out of the lemons yet. But, like the rest of you I’m true blue & gold and I’m on board this train for the ride. EDIT: Though it is hard on this old backside when the train leaves the tracks, jumps the ditch and takes off through the corn field.
GREAT PARTING DESCRIPTION. YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SPORTSWRITER, TOO.
Painful to watch. Texas penetrates for layups. WVU struggles to get ball to anyone inside the 3-point arc.January 5, 2019 at 5:08 pm in reply to: Poll: Who Would You Like To See As WVU’s Next Football Coach? #79064