Means a finalist for AL Rookie of the Year award

Orioles left-hander John Means keeps building on his list of accomplishments, a pitcher given little to no chance of making the opening day roster still raising his level of recognition.

Means is a finalist for the American League’s Rookie of the Year Award, with voting conducted by qualifying members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The finalists’ names were announced tonight on MLB Network.

The Astros’ Yordan Álvarez and the Rays’ Brandon Lowe join Means as finalists. The winner will be revealed on Nov. 11.

Álvarez, 22, is regarded as the overwhelming favorite after batting .313/.412/.655 with 26 doubles, 27 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 3.7 WAR in only 87 games.

The Rays selected Lowe, 25, in the third round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Maryland. He slashed .270/.336/.514 with 17 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 82 games, but missed more than two months with leg injuries.

Lowe sustained a deep bone bruise in his right leg after being hit by a foul ball in a July 2 game against the Orioles, and he strained his left quadriceps muscle the following month while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham. He returned on Sept. 22 to aid the playoff push.

Means-Pitching-Back-at-TB-Gray-Sidebar.jpgMeans, 26, emerged as the staff ace in Baltimore, an unlikely success story that added another chapter tonight.

Moved into the rotation after making his first three appearances out of the bullpen, Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.135 WHIP over 31 games. He also represented the Orioles in the All-Star Game, the organization’s first rookie to be honored since catcher Andy Etchebarren in 1966, but didn’t pitch.

Means registered a 4.5 WAR that ranked first in the league. His 3.60 ERA ranked as the AL’s lowest among rookie pitchers with a minimum of 25 starts and the fourth-lowest in the majors.

An 11th-round pick in the 2014 draft out of West Virginia University, Means finished the season leading all rookie pitchers in opponent batting average at .234. He placed second in WHIP, opponent OPS (.702) and strikeout/walk ratio (3.18), third in ERA, strikeouts per nine innings (7.03) and winning percentage (.522), and fourth in wins, opponent slugging percentage (.417) and home runs per nine innings (1.34).

His 121 strikeouts ranked fifth and his 11 quality starts were sixth.

Outfielder Trey Mancini finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2017. Reliever Gregg Olson was the last Oriole to win the award in 1989.

The Orioles don’t have anyone else in the running to claim a major award this year. They won’t be in the discussion for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Manager of the Year.

Note: Former Orioles outfielder Dwight Evans is included among the 10 names on the Modern Baseball Era ballot for possible induction in the Hall of Fame.

Votes will be announced Dec. 8 at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Evans is joined by Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker. All candidates are former players except for Miller, who was the head of MLB’s Players Association from 1966-82.

Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee will earn election to the Hall of Fame and be inducted on July 26, 2020.

Evans is known more for his body of work over 19 seasons with the Red Sox, but his career ended after he appeared in 101 games with the Orioles in 1991 and slashed .270/.393/.378. He won eight Gold Gloves with the Red Sox.

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