The great increases in homers and strikeouts have occurred in the last few years. I think it may be because the players are practicing putting backspin on the balls when they hit them. The backspin will make the balls travel farther, but it's also harder to put backspin on a baseball by hitting it. If you watch Sports Center when they are showing highlights of homeruns, they usually show in slow motion some of the batters' swings. If you see this from the camera angle that is near the dugout facing the batter, you can see that the batters are swinging using a downward angle. The downward angle will put backspin on the ball(if it is hit just right). It's also harder to hit the ball when your swing has that angle. So if the batters hit the pitches just right, the balls will have backspin and if those balls are in the air they will have more of a chance of going over the fence. But it is also harder to make contact with the pitch, which makes an increase in strikeouts inevitable.
Analytics have made the old idea of the level swing just something in the memories of us old-timers.
I really like what I see from Means. I think of him as emerging as a 2 - a top 25-50 SP with some consistency.
He has been wicked good the past month. I like that he and his wife are both driven to be so good at their craft and are so competitive. One can count on Means maximizing his stuff through hard work, desire and dedication.
IMO, the current major league rotation is a C+ depending on Means ceiling and the future outlook of Akin and Kremer.
I believe the minor league situation is an A. I am not sure how many organizations have 2 SP candidates in the top 100, but by law of averages I doubt it is much more than 10. There are a LOT of names with reasonable chances of becoming 3-5 SPs in the organization. Baumann may be the next biggest name and we heard nice things about Bradish and we still have Lowther, Wells and Smith leading the wave after Akin/Kremer. And a bunch of names below that.
I would have to strongly disagree about any renaissance with pitching philosophies. Our current FO has spent very little of the past few drafts on pitching. Almost all of the names in the opening post were provided by the prior regime. I think this is mostly by design as Elias will draft hitters. Going forward, I expect our pitching inventory to be stocked by international signs, trades for minor leaguers in other organizations (such as the Bradish and Smith deals) and lastly - like Houston - trade for TOR, cost controlled SPs mostly using the hitting inventory. I expect high $ investments in pitchers in the draft and internationally will be a lesser occurrence.