Baltimore Orioles: John Means Not Satisfied In Shutout Outing
The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays met on Wednesday for a Grapefruit League outing, with LHP John Means leading the way.
Spring training games have been rolling along for about two weeks now and interest in these practice games are starting to wane. With a few more weeks to go in the Baltimore Orioles’ Grapefruit League schedule, storylines like John Means at least provide a bit of intrigue and reason to tune in.
Covering the O’s farm system for the past three years, I have come across the West Virginia University product a few times. He’s spent the last four-plus seasons working his way through the organization, rather quietly. I’ve watched plenty of his starts and always walked away with the same thoughts- nothing eye-opening, nothing that will blow you away, just a hard-working pitcher who might crack a major league roster as a reliever.
Means is now not only looking at possibly breaking camp with the Baltimore Orioles, but earning a spot in the starting rotation. He’s the hot name around camp and among fans now and is giving us all a reason to talk about him.
The lefty tossed three scoreless frames today against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing just one hit while walking two and striking out five. In seasons where Means has tossed at least 100 innings, he hasn’t posted a K/9 rate higher than 7.84. He has seven strikeouts now in 5.1 spring innings.
After his outing, Means told Orioles’ reporters,
"“I think I probably felt a little better last outing, actually,” he said. “This outing is one of those where you see the box score, you see the strikeouts and you think it’s a good outing. I just didn’t really have as much feel for my curveball. I couldn’t really dump that in for a strike, but I still felt good, I still feel strong.”"
News came out this morning that Brandon Hyde hasn’t been able to stretch out Nate Karns, meaning he is likely now destined for the bullpen to the start the season. There is also an extra rotation spot up for grabs.
While I would peg David Hess and Yefry Ramirez as the favorites here, you can’t discount John Means. After reading the in-game notes from Roch Kubatko, Means is clearly hungry to take advantage of this opportunity. A season like 2019 is the perfect opportunity for players like Means to come up and showcase their stuff. Even if Means doesn’t break camp, we will see him at Camden Yards before too much longer.
Baltimore Orioles come from behind to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay took advantage of John Means calling it an afternoon, jumping on 33-year-old reliever Bo Schultz for three hits and three runs in the bottom of the 4th inning to take a 3-0 lead.
That lead soon evaporated thanks to a solo home run from Anthony Santander and a two-run shot from Cedric Mullins. There may be an extra opening on the 25-man roster, should Mark Trumbo begin the year on the injured list, and Santander just might be playing his way into that spot.
Outfielder Yusniel Diaz also continued his explosive spring training, driving in three with this double seen below as part of a four-run 8th inning. Utility man Jack Reinheimer would tack on an RBI-single later in the inning to put the Orioles up 7-5.
Baltimore would pad their lead in the 9th with a two-run home run from Mike Yastrzemski. Yaz was part of the first round of camp cuts from earlier in the week.
Notes from around the bases.
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- Third baseman Rio Ruiz went 2-3 with his second double, upping his spring average to .316. Ruiz and Renato Nunez are in competition for the starting third base role. Neither is a long-term solution, so may the best man win.
- Shortstop Richie Martin is now hitting .450 after adding two hits today. I know, the stats mean nothing, but he has looked impressive each time we have been able to watch him live and he looks very deserving of starting shortstop duties.
- RHP Luis Ortiz was bad, again. Ortiz gave up two runs on two hits and walked one in one inning. His ERA this spring is now 14.40.
The win sends Baltimore to a 7-4-2 spring training record.