Today, when we get to the comments section of this blog, the readers will be the stars. Here is the plan: Ask an O’s question, whatever you’ve got, and I’ll provide the best answer I can. Plus other readers can throw in their two cents.
It’s time to open this up and get what is on your mind about the club front and center.
I’ve pointed out numerous times that the topic here is the Orioles - majors and minors. But often the comments relate only to what is written about in the blog entry that day. That is fine, but this is always open to all O’s topics. So today the topics (and questions) are up to you.
Means’ offseason: Orioles lefty John Means was a guest on the “Scott and Jeremy” show yesterday on the O’s flagship radio station, 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore.
Means said he didn’t know he was a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year Award until everyone else found out - during a live telecast on MLB Network. He was watching and his name was announced as one of three finalists, along with Yordan Álvarez of Houston - the heavy favorite to win - and Brandon Lowe of Tampa Bay. The winner will be announced Monday night.
Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA that was the lowest by a Baltimore starter since Wei-Yin Chen posted a 3.34 mark in 2015. That ERA would have ranked seventh in the American League if Means had thrown seven more innings to qualify for league leaders.
“I just started some light throwing, nothing too much. Just keep your arm moving,” Means said. “It never really stops. This is never really a true offseason.”
He was asked about his success pitching at Oriole Park. Means finished the home season with a 2.74 ERA, the best by a first- or second-year Orioles pitcher since Mike Mussina in 1992 (2.65 ERA), the team’s first season in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
“I think pitchers are scared to come there,” he said. “But I don’t know what it is about pitching at home, but I just loved to do it. Home-field advantage is different between the majors and the minors. You’re staying at your own place, it’s not someone else’s house like I stayed in for most of my minor league career. The food at home is better. Being at home gave me such a good feeling.”
Means expects to spend some time again this winter at the P3 Premier Pitching Performance facility in St. Louis. Means, who once threw a fastball that ranged from 88 to 91 mph, showed up in spring training last year with increased velocity and touched 94 and 95 mph in Florida. His average velocity for the year was 92.2 mph, according to BrooksBaseball.net. Means had a couple of games when he averaged over 93 mph.
“I think I really didn’t fully commit to this program until the last few weeks, month or so of the offseason,” Means said. “I really dove in during that month and then I saw a huge jump in spring training. So dedicating a whole offseason to it - now that I know what it can do and now that I know what I need to work after a whole year in the big leagues - I’m definitely going to come in with some stuff to work on. But a lot of the same stuff, just more of it. Dive in a little bit deeper.”
It was in this interview last March that Means told me about his winter work to help on the velocity front.
So here we go with questions. What have you got today on the Orioles - majors or minors?