When you think of a ninth round draft pick, you wouldn’t normally associate that pick with being a finalist for Rookie of the Year. Luckily for Oriole fans, we can do just that. John Means will add one more accolade to his fantastic rookie campaign.
Means will join Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and University of Maryland alumni Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays as the American League Rookie of the Year Award finalists.
Baltimore Orioles fans didn’t have much to cheer for in 2019. That made the surprising success of left-handed pitcher John Means all the more exciting. During a rebuild, the future is what you work towards. Means is a perfect example of why you trust your farm system. Means also gave Orioles fans hope, which means a whole lot to a 54-108 team.
From his first appearance this year to his final start, Means kept offenses off balance all season long. He utilized his filthy changeup to play off his fastball, and opposing hitters didn’t know what to do. This helped Means finish with a positive 12-11 record, and a 3.60 ERA.
From the start, everyone knew Means meant business. He was selected to his first All-Star Game, although he unfortunately didn’t see the field. Means also struck out 131 batters in 31 games, finishing with an average strikeout per nine innings of seven. Even better, Means led the team in innings pitched, WHIP, and Wins Above Replacement.
If Means can bring home the award, he would be the first Oriole to win it since Gregg Olsen took the award in 1989, as a part of the “Why Not?” team.
From three seasons in Double-A, to spring training invitee, to making the Opening Day roster, John Means has had a lot to be proud of. The potential to win the Rookie of the Year Award is yet another accolade under his belt. Be sure to tune into MLB Network November 11 to see who takes home the award!