It is easy to overlook any pitcher’s success from the Baltimore Orioles, given their recent track record of developing prospects. While he wasn’t highly hyped entering the season, Means did everything he could to catch our attention. Just how believable are these numbers, though?
121 Strikeouts (7.03 K/9)
38 Walks (2.21 BB/9)
30.9% Groundball Rate
Outside of the control, what “skill” are we pointing towards as a reason to anticipate future success? He wasn’t generating nearly enough swings and misses, with a 9.9% SwStr%, and there was no one pitch that stood out as a put away pitch (Whiff%):
- Changeup – 14.58%
- Slider – 13.18%
- Fourseam Fastball – 8.01%
- Curveball – 6.96%
Considering his 10.2% SwStr% in the minors in 2018, there’s little reason to think anything will change. Maybe he “improves” into the 7.50 K/9 range, as he showed in the first half (7.51 K/9 in the first half, 6.47 in the second)? Perhaps, but that would hardly be enough.
Home runs are always going to be a risk pitching in the AL East, and while he did allow a 1.34 HR/9 last season the risk is there for an even worse mark. He wasn’t generating many groundballs, something that he also had shown in the minor leagues (36.8% groundball rate in 157.1 IP in ’18).
A lack of strikeouts and a lack of groundballs, pitching in the AL East?!? That’s never a sought out formula for fantasy owners. Sure his potentially elite control is a positive, and it could led to an at least solid WHIP given his weak Hard% (27.5%), but it’s no guarantee. There’s far more downside than upside, especially with the Blue Jays potentially improving offensively, to even consider investing in him.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball