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Frobby

Serious question: could Means become a TOR starter?

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Watching Means these last few games, there’s little he doesn’t have in his repertoire now.    His fastball was consistently 95 mph, with good riding action.    He’s reacquired his changeup that we saw all last year.    And his curve ball is now becoming a weapon.   The slider is still a work in progress, and he hung one tonight that cost him for a homer.    It was his only real mistake all night.   

So my question is, is this former fringe prospect becoming a top of rotation starter before our eyes?    I realize his overall numbers this year were just so-so, but he’s been damned impressive down the stretch.    I’m really intrigued by what he might do next year.  
 

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5 minutes ago, Frobby said:

Watching Means these last few games, there’s little he doesn’t have in his repertoire now.    His fastball was consistently 95 mph, with good riding action.    He’s reacquired his changeup that we saw all last year.    And his curve ball is now becoming a weapon.   The slider is still a work in progress, and he hung one tonight that cost him for a homer.    It was his only real mistake all night.   

So my question is, is this former fringe prospect becoming a top of rotation starter before our eyes?    I realize his overall numbers this year were just so-so, but he’s been damned impressive down the stretch.    I’m really intrigued by what he might do next year.  
 

i am hoping that is the case with Means.  I also like that he is a LHP.  

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Really, the biggest problem he had this year was gopher balls.    He’s a fly ball pitcher, so that’s probably inevitable to a degree, but 12 in 43.2 innings (2.47 per 9 IP) is not TOR material.   In these excellent four last starts, he allowed one run in each game and all four runs came on solo homers.    

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Two issues I see for Means.

He seems to get dinged up, he's missed time in both 2019 and 2020 with minor injuries.  You generally consider a TOR guy to be durable.

He doesn't go deep enough into games.    This is 2020 I'm not expecting him to throw a dozen complete games but a TOR guy needs to eat some innings and Means hasn't shown that yet.

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The cherry pick leaderboard, custom with 9/3 start date to exclude the last bad Mets start before "the Talk":

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=al&qual=y&type=1&season=2020&month=1000&season1=2020&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2020-09-03&enddate=2020-09-30&sort=9%2Cd

I would have said AL Pitcher of Month candidate, but Cole has been Cole, and apparently Chris Bassitt has a 0.34 ERA this month.  (I still think the A's might not use him next week).

I suspect he'll progress from being like a $5 pitcher to like a $12 pitcher in the LABRs/Touts of the world, as a proxy for how gamers value his expected future superficial stats.

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30 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Two issues I see for Means.

He seems to get dinged up, he's missed time in both 2019 and 2020 with minor injuries.  You generally consider a TOR guy to be durable.

He doesn't go deep enough into games.    This is 2020 I'm not expecting him to throw a dozen complete games but a TOR guy needs to eat some innings and Means hasn't shown that yet.

Too soon to know about the first issue.  His minor league track record was very good: 27, 27, 26 and 28 starts in a MiL environment where 28 is basically the max over a 140 game season.    

I take your point about getting deep into games.   I was watching in the 6th, Means still working on a no hitter at the time and Garceau mentioned he was at 93 pitches.    How does your pitch count get that high when you’ve allowed one baserunner and still working in the 6th?   Still, TOR innings per start seems to be a moving target these days.  I count 8 pitchers this year who’ve made 10 starts and thrown 6+ innings per start.   There’s only 18 pitchers in MLB who qualify for the ERA title!  (That does not include innings from yesterday or the upcoming games today, so that number will increase, but still...)
 

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On the gopheritis, Means is 13th out of 110 in HR/FB among SP with 40 IP.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=40&type=8&season=2020&month=0&season1=2020&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2020-01-01&enddate=2020-12-31&sort=15,d

To some extent HR/FB is a "luck" outcome - analysts will probably look to his WHIP more than his ERA getting stoked for his 2021.

As he's found his game this month, I also think he's set his Yield HR or BB? setting all the way to HR.  He's enjoying his progress and probably not suffering fools in the batters box.

He's safely fended off the (light) Kremer/Akin challenge for the Opening Day assignment.

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2 minutes ago, Frobby said:

Too soon to know about the first issue.  His minor league track record was very good: 27, 27, 26 and 28 starts in a MiL environment where 28 is basically the max over a 140 game season.    

I take your point about getting deep into games.   I was watching in the 6th, Means still working on a no hitter at the time and Garceau mentioned he was at 93 pitches.    How does your pitch count get that high when you’ve allowed one baserunner and still working in the 6th?   Still, TOR innings per start seems to be a moving target these days.  I count 8 pitchers this year who’ve made 10 starts and thrown 6+ innings per start.   There’s only 18 pitchers in MLB who qualify for the ERA title!  (That does not include innings from yesterday or the upcoming games today, so that number will increase, but still...)
 

He didn't exceed six innings pitched in any start this year.  Last season he pitched seven five times.  He never exceeded seven.

The demands on a TOR guy are not what they once were but I think the occasional eight or even nine inning start is still expected.

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The potential is certainly there. Arguably he already is TOR in that he is literally our top starter right now and would likely get the opening day start April 2021. 

Despite the higher ERA, he had a lower walk rate, higher K rate, and lower WHIP this year. That bodes very well. 

Interestingly, he had traditional splits last year, slight reverse split this year in small sample size. 

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10 hours ago, Frobby said:

Watching Means these last few games, there’s little he doesn’t have in his repertoire now.    His fastball was consistently 95 mph, with good riding action.    He’s reacquired his changeup that we saw all last year.    And his curve ball is now becoming a weapon.   The slider is still a work in progress, and he hung one tonight that cost him for a homer.    It was his only real mistake all night.   

So my question is, is this former fringe prospect becoming a top of rotation starter before our eyes?    I realize his overall numbers this year were just so-so, but he’s been damned impressive down the stretch.    I’m really intrigued by what he might do next year.  
 

The only overall number that was so-so was his ERA. He had a sub-1.00 WHIP, a substantially better K/9 than last year (8.7 Vs. 7.0), and an elite K/BB (6.00). Even his ground ball rate is substantially up this year with both LD and FB Percentages declining vs. 2019. 

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3 minutes ago, BohKnowsBmore said:

The only overall number that was so-so was his ERA. He had a sub-1.00 WHIP, a substantially better K/9 than last year (8.7 Vs. 7.0), and an elite K/BB (6.00). Even his ground ball rate is substantially up this year with both LD and FB Percentages declining vs. 2019. 

His FIP was 5.59 and his xFIP was 4.45.

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I'll have to look at it closer but I suspect that one of the reasons Means does not go deeper in games is the defense costs him.  Errors, plays not made, poor framing that does not get a strike.  It would be nice to have a catcher that can catch a ball in the dirt instead of it going to the backstop.

I also don't think the increase in velocity has been much of a factor in his last 4 games.  He backed off the velo in favor of better command.

The Means of the last 4 games is a TOR.  4 solo homers in not going to hurt him.    He will have to find a way to stop having mid season slumps.   But John is a worker and he knows that he needs to improve that.

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