Orioles lefty John Means ascended from 40-man filler to building block in less than a year’s time, and the All-Star rookie sat down with MLB.com’s Joe Trezza to discuss his remarkable season. Candidly, Means revealed that he was expecting to be designated for assignment to clear 40-man space last winter. He’d made an emergency September start, allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings, and was never considered much of a prospect within the system. Means attributes much of his breakout to a rigorous offseason program with P3 Premier Performance & Pitching, where he was able to boost his velocity, and Spring Training work with minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt that led to an improved changeup. He’ll return to P3 this winter and spoke with determination when discussing ways in which he can further improve.
“I was never supposed to be here,” said the southpaw. “I wasn’t a first rounder. I wasn’t a prospect. I wasn’t someone who was supposed to do well. So when you have your success, you want to keep it going. That might take you to a certain level, but it won’t take you over the top or over the hump.” In 155 innings this season, the 26-year-old Means logged a 3.60 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 30.9 percent grounder rate. He’s controlled through 2024.
More out of Baltimore as the gears of a rebuild continue to turn…
- Speaking of Holt, he’s being promoted from minor league pitching coordinator to the organization’s director of pitching, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. In the new role, he’ll have a much larger impact on the big league club and work more closely with returning pitching coach Doug Brocail. Holt came to the Orioles from the Astros alongside GM Mike Elias last offseason. He previously served as Houston’s assistant pitching coordinator but looks increasingly like a rising influence in his new organization, as Kubatko details. He’ll continue to oversee individualized development plans for the team’s minor league pitchers but will now have input on the MLB arms in a season that figures to see several younger arms emerge at the big league level.
- Dylan Bundy’s once-blistering fastball has faded early in his career as he’s worked through myriad injuries, but the right-hander spoke with Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun about his plans to continue working through the lost velocity and alter his pitch mix. Bundy cited Zack Greinke as a model he’d like to follow and explained how he began to favor his offspeed pitches more frequently as the season wore on (and, as Meoli notes, as his production improved). Bundy acknowledged plenty of room for improvement in his bottom-line numbers but spoke confidently about his ability to eventually make things work with a lesser fastball. “Now it’s staying healthy and keep learning what I learned this year about the way I pitched now, just continuing to improve,” he said. “…I think if I pitch at 92-93, 91 even, and locate it, use my other pitches, then I’ve been told that the heater plays up because of that other stuff.” Bundy, controlled by the Orioles through 2021, pitched to a 4.79 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.61 HR/9 and a career-high 41.5 percent grounder rate in 161 2/3 innings this year. He’s projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $5.7MM in 2020.