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John Means 2021 Outlook


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How come there’s nothing on this guy? This guy and Tyler Mahle are my two favorite SP sleepers for next year as of now and both have seen an uptick in velocity. Means closed out the year very strong and will be a guy I will try it have on most of my rosters. I think he is just tapping into his K potential and wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a strong spring and shoot up the draft boards. I’d like to hear from some our our experts on here their opinions but definitely a guy I’m targeting for 2021 toward the end of my drafts. 

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Can this man finally get some respect now?

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I have a feeling I'll be saying this a lot in 2021 SP outlook threads, but I would be very cautious about assigning the "breakout" label to any pitcher based on a 60 game season.  The upside even if he does sustain the strikeout improvements here is, what, Kyle Hendricks with less win potential?  As a late dart throw, sure, but I would rather take the real Kyle Hendricks and use him to stabilize the ratios of some higher upside late-round gambles than hope for Means to replicate what he did in 10 2020 starts over 30 starts in 2021.

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21 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

I have a feeling I'll be saying this a lot in 2021 SP outlook threads, but I would be very cautious about assigning the "breakout" label to any pitcher based on a 60 game season.  The upside even if he does sustain the strikeout improvements here is, what, Kyle Hendricks with less win potential?  As a late dart throw, sure, but I would rather take the real Kyle Hendricks and use him to stabilize the ratios of some higher upside late-round gambles than hope for Means to replicate what he did in 10 2020 starts over 30 starts in 2021.

Sounds like a boring strategy to me.

I guess you play in shallow formats. Leagues can be won by finding guys cheap like Means in the late rounds or maybe in your case, picking up for free off the wire. I feel like Kyle Hendricks is owned in 100% of leagues 10 teams and up and has great stats and ratios as you pointed out.. if Means could do as well as him that would be fantastic. Sure, I’ll agree with you that people should be cautious letting the year 2020 define a player, but Means definitely passes the eye test for me and feel like he has another level in him. I could be wrong and that’s fine, just here to talk about him and his value as a potential sleeper/flier toward the end of most people’s fantasy draft. 

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I'm not sure why you're taking this in a weirdly personal direction speculating about the kind of leagues I play in when all I did was weigh in on the player in question, but to the extent that it matters, only one of the five leagues I regularly play in has less than 12 teams, so I don't think that's a factor here.

I am also well aware of how late-round picks and waiver grabs can win leagues, and, sure, maybe Means is that guy, and at the price he'll go in drafts, there's nothing wrong with just going and getting your favorites.  My point, however, wasn't that I'd rather have Hendricks -- who wouldn't? -- but that Means doesn't seem all that upside-y in the first place, so I'd rather just get the ratio safety from the proven commodity and use those late round picks to chase whoever the next Snell, Giolito, Woodruff, Castillo type might be -- the guy who has the stuff and just needs to find the control -- than the guy who has to outrun his peripherals *and* add velocity just to get to the production of a guy like Hendricks who you could get in the 11th or 12th round in drafts last season.

I mean... Means was SP87 this season even with the extra velo, in part because of a ghastly 2.47 HR/9.  Maybe if we have a normal 2021 schedule that comes down as he faces fewer Yankees/Rays and more Royals/Tigers, but even in his ROTY runner-up season with a low 1.34 HR/9, his ERA was 3.60.  It's not unheard of for guys to tap into some extra velo, but the velo didn't help tame the ERA or win him games this season, so I'm not sure why we would think it does next year.

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47 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

I'm not sure why you're taking this in a weirdly personal direction speculating about the kind of leagues I play in when all I did was weigh in on the player in question, but to the extent that it matters, only one of the five leagues I regularly play in has less than 12 teams, so I don't think that's a factor here.

I am also well aware of how late-round picks and waiver grabs can win leagues, and, sure, maybe Means is that guy, and at the price he'll go in drafts, there's nothing wrong with just going and getting your favorites.  My point, however, wasn't that I'd rather have Hendricks -- who wouldn't? -- but that Means doesn't seem all that upside-y in the first place, so I'd rather just get the ratio safety from the proven commodity and use those late round picks to chase whoever the next Snell, Giolito, Woodruff, Castillo type might be -- the guy who has the stuff and just needs to find the control -- than the guy who has to outrun his peripherals *and* add velocity just to get to the production of a guy like Hendricks who you could get in the 11th or 12th round in drafts last season.

I mean... Means was SP87 this season even with the extra velo, in part because of a ghastly 2.47 HR/9.  Maybe if we have a normal 2021 schedule that comes down as he faces fewer Yankees/Rays and more Royals/Tigers, but even in his ROTY runner-up season with a low 1.34 HR/9, his ERA was 3.60.  It's not unheard of for guys to tap into some extra velo, but the velo didn't help tame the ERA or win him games this season, so I'm not sure why we would think it does next year.

The man went through a lot this year with his father passing from cancer and him going on bereavement. He had a tough stretch of games when he got back understandably and that contributed to his inflated numbers. Yeah his HR rate was high and same can be said for Mahle over the last couple of years, so he needs work there you’re right, but I think a lot of that was him trying to overpower guys with his 96 mph fastball, which he openly admitted he was doing. Also ERA tells very little of the underlying story (as I’m sure you’re well aware) from a performance standpoint, while his other peripheral numbers indicate he pitched much better this year than what his ERA showcases. 

Also, during his stretch of good starts at the end of this year he found his best pitch, the change up, which is disgusting by the way, and was locating his fastball with pinpoint accuracy. He looked like a completely different pitcher. I just feel like if he can put it all together he could be a very nice arm. Don’t get so butt hurt when others in the community want to help out and speculate about a late round guy that no one is obviously talking about. I’d be very interested in hearing additional opinions and analysis from the community if there are any. Only 6-months to go before opening day!

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I have Means in all my leagues except one and am trying to acquire him there.  He's one of my favorite pitchers for next year.

 

His last 4 starts:

 

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 k's

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 k's

5.2 innnings, 1 run, 0 walks, 12 k's

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 k's

 

Sure, you don't want to base things off a 60 game season, but you also don't want to base means off his rough start to the season.  Especially for means- he made a noticeable adjustment in the last 4 games, utilizing his curveball more even though it's not his best pitch, so I don't think it was a fluke.  He was basically an opener for his first couple of starts because he was coming off arm soreness and because his dad passed away.

 

His XERA is 3.09 for the ENTIRE YEAR.  Statcast LOVES this guy.  His first 6 starts are terrible, and he still ends up with a 3.09 XERA? Sign me the heck up!  Great ERA, Great Whip, QS's, and some serious K potential as well.  

Dominant changeup.  Good fastball.  Incredible command.  Get me over curve to balance his repetoire.  Possibly my #1 SP target for next year (not #1 overall, but who I might be reaching for the most)

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8 hours ago, Fbaseballgod said:

I have Means in all my leagues except one and am trying to acquire him there.  He's one of my favorite pitchers for next year.

 

His last 4 starts:

 

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 k's

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 k's

5.2 innnings, 1 run, 0 walks, 12 k's

6 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 k's

 

Sure, you don't want to base things off a 60 game season, but you also don't want to base means off his rough start to the season.  Especially for means- he made a noticeable adjustment in the last 4 games, utilizing his curveball more even though it's not his best pitch, so I don't think it was a fluke.  He was basically an opener for his first couple of starts because he was coming off arm soreness and because his dad passed away.

 

His XERA is 3.09 for the ENTIRE YEAR.  Statcast LOVES this guy.  His first 6 starts are terrible, and he still ends up with a 3.09 XERA? Sign me the heck up!  Great ERA, Great Whip, QS's, and some serious K potential as well.  

Dominant changeup.  Good fastball.  Incredible command.  Get me over curve to balance his repetoire.  Possibly my #1 SP target for next year (not #1 overall, but who I might be reaching for the most)

Great post! Thank you!

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8 hours ago, StartYourStuds said:

Also, during his stretch of good starts at the end of this year he found his best pitch, the change up, which is disgusting by the way, and was locating his fastball with pinpoint accuracy. He looked like a completely different pitcher. I just feel like if he can put it all together he could be a very nice arm. Don’t get so butt hurt when others in the community want to help out and speculate about a late round guy that no one is obviously talking about. I’d be very interested in hearing additional opinions and analysis from the community if there are any. Only 6-months to go before opening day!

 

Did I accidentally stumble into the football forum with this "if you disagree with me, you must be butt hurt" nonsense?  The offseason is usually really chill over here in Fantasy Baseball Talk, so wherever this is escalation is coming from, can you please stop harshing the mellow?

All I did was express a contrary opinion and offer words of caution against using ten good starts to project what a pitcher will do over a full season.  Yes, there are encouraging signs if you zoom into the game logs and assume he can sustain that level.  And, again, he'll be basically free in drafts, so by all means (hah) go get your guys at that price.  My only points were that (a) the upside is limited unless he can win more games and bring down the ERA, and (b) even at his best, he was a liability in all but one category .  Obviously the calculus is a little different in QS leagues, but those aren't the standard.  It also seems like cherry picking to look at xERA when SIERA, FIP, and xFIP all say his ERA should be even worse.

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14 hours ago, StartYourStuds said:

The man went through a lot this year with his father passing from cancer and him going on bereavement. He had a tough stretch of games when he got back understandably and that contributed to his inflated numbers. Yeah his HR rate was high and same can be said for Mahle over the last couple of years, so he needs work there you’re right, but I think a lot of that was him trying to overpower guys with his 96 mph fastball, which he openly admitted he was doing. Also ERA tells very little of the underlying story (as I’m sure you’re well aware) from a performance standpoint, while his other peripheral numbers indicate he pitched much better this year than what his ERA showcases. 

Also, during his stretch of good starts at the end of this year he found his best pitch, the change up, which is disgusting by the way, and was locating his fastball with pinpoint accuracy. He looked like a completely different pitcher. I just feel like if he can put it all together he could be a very nice arm. Don’t get so butt hurt when others in the community want to help out and speculate about a late round guy that no one is obviously talking about. I’d be very interested in hearing additional opinions and analysis from the community if there are any. Only 6-months to go before opening day!

 

[...] nobody is talking about anybody right now. How many 2021 threads are there? 

And is his change really that disgusting? Fangraphs has it listed as a 0.3 in pitch values, which is slightly above average. Even if it got better for that four-game stretch, the question is if he can maintain that over the long-term. 

Edited by tonycpsu
Let's not escalate the escalation, please.
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Well his changeup was superb in 2019 so I’m confident in a “bounce back” (which really only means he won’t suck it up like he did in his first 6 starts this year when he was dealing with a myriad of problems).  But regardless... 

Hey, by all means don’t believe in the Means! Keep that stock down for me next year 😉

In fantasy baseball you can usually find something or another to support and/or tear down a player.  That’s the beauty of it! 

https://www.pitcherlist.com/way-too-early-top-100-starting-pitcher-rankings-for-2021/

 

Pitcherlist has them as the #48 SP and they’ve been super accurate the last few seasons.  I think this is a pretty fair ranking, I see them as maybe a little better than that, but what do I know.  Right now my 3 leagues are 20-30 teams which makes him super valuable at that ranking. In a 10 team redraft I’ll be more than happy drafting him as my SP4/5

 

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5 hours ago, Flyman75 said:

 

[...] nobody is talking about anybody right now. How many 2021 threads are there? 

And is his change really that disgusting? Fangraphs has it listed as a 0.3 in pitch values, which is slightly above average. Even if it got better for that four-game stretch, the question is if he can maintain that over the long-term. 

Did you look through the 2020 threads? Guess not because there isn’t one. Down the stretch he would have been an incredible pick up for fantasy playoffs. Extremely  surprised there wasn’t any mention of his exceptional, yet sss, performance.

[...] 

“The question is, can he maintain it over the long term” 

[...] that’s clearly a question I’d like to discuss. I’m not claiming he is the next Randy Johnson, just speculating a sleeper for 2021 that’s not being drafted and is being overlooked IMO. There are players every year who breakout and it’s a worthwhile exercise to take a look at a guy that closed out the season very strong, has a great 3 pitch mix, premium velocity, all from the left side.  I’m currently in a slow draft right now and building a dynasty team so wanted to gather some opinions on John Means. I have yours, thanks.

Edited by tonycpsu
Enough with the nasty attitude. This isn't Twitter. We're having a conversation about baseball, not trying to tear each other down.
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4 hours ago, StartYourStuds said:

Did you look through the 2020 threads? Guess not because there isn’t one. Down the stretch he would have been an incredible pick up for fantasy playoffs. Extremely  surprised there wasn’t any mention of his exceptional, yet sss, performance.

[...] 

“The question is, can he maintain it over the long term” 

[...] that’s clearly a question I’d like to discuss. I’m not claiming he is the next Randy Johnson, just speculating a sleeper for 2021 that’s not being drafted and is being overlooked IMO. There are players every year who breakout and it’s a worthwhile exercise to take a look at a guy that closed out the season very strong, has a great 3 pitch mix, premium velocity, all from the left side.  I’m currently in a slow draft right now and building a dynasty team so wanted to gather some opinions on John Means. I have yours, thanks.


No need for the attitude. I’m all for cordial discussions, but sometimes people will disagree with your perspectives. As respectfully as I can say it, if you can’t handle that, you’re not going to enjoy it here. 

As for the lack of posts down the stretch, guys check out by September...happens every year. There is far less discussion in the time of the year during which Means was on his four-game stretch. So it doesn’t surprise me at all. And frankly, it was probably difficult to trust for some. 

And lastly, you don’t have my opinion on Means. Not at all, lol. I only asked a question about his change-up, which FanGraphs graded as slightly above average. 

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On 10/21/2020 at 7:00 PM, tonycpsu said:

I have a feeling I'll be saying this a lot in 2021 SP outlook threads, but I would be very cautious about assigning the "breakout" label to any pitcher based on a 60 game season.  The upside even if he does sustain the strikeout improvements here is, what, Kyle Hendricks with less win potential?  As a late dart throw, sure, but I would rather take the real Kyle Hendricks and use him to stabilize the ratios of some higher upside late-round gambles than hope for Means to replicate what he did in 10 2020 starts over 30 starts in 2021.

He's interesting because his FB Velo is up +2MPH. Players that were at least semi successful THEN get a FB bump should interest most people. Haven't looked too hard, but was it normal to see this velo bump because of the short season and shorter outings?

The K% raise is just an conformation that the Velo bumped helped him. Problem this short season was his change up effectiveness was not nearly as good.

wOBA against

2019: FB (.325) CH (.272) 

2020: FB (.249) CH (.343) 

Whiff:

2019: FB (18.2) CH (24.8) 

2020: FB (28.9) CH (23.9) 

You would be placing a bet that he would regain his change up dominance and lower his HR/9.

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3 minutes ago, Slatykamora said:

He's interesting because his FB Velo is up +2MPH. Players that were at least semi successful THEN get a FB bump should interest most people. Haven't looked too hard, but was it normal to see this velo bump because of the short season and shorter outings?

 

I'd be interested in seeing those numbers as well, but intuitively, we do see guys throw harder and be more effective on a per-inning basis when they go to the bullpen, so it makes sense that fewer innings per start and a much smaller number of innings in the season would lead to guys being able to let it rip a bit more.  Sometimes they can even carry over the velo bump when they go from the pen to starting, but it usually doesn't last (e.g. Danny Duffy).

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I am a HUGE fan of this guy. This is the perfect example of how "prospect pedigree" does not always tell the tale. 

In 2019, Means showed impeccable control and a plus change up. His slider is also fairly workable. In 2019 he pitched to a sub 4 era, made the ASG pitching in Baltimore. He worked hard in the off season and in 2020 after recovering from a dead arm, the death of his father and a slow ramp up, literally pitched like an ace during the last few weeks.

What was most interesting to me is Means sitting around 91 in 2019, came to camp showing improved velo. I thought it was hype, then I watched him pitch. He was 95-96 consistently doing it deep into games. A guy with a mid 90s heater, a ++ change, a solid third offering and outstanding command is pretty much the safest thing you can get. Means is also a sturdy guy and should have no problem being work horse.

The other great thing about Means is YOU CAN STILL get him for cheap in fantasy leagues because I think he's still pretty much under the radar. 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Bumping his thread back up. Seems to be a popular sleeper/breakout guy in the industry, and a lot of it has to do with his increased velo in 2020. I question Means’ increase just like I question every velo increase last season (and there were a lot)...was it because of the shortened season and pitchers knowing they were going to throw fewer innings, thereby throwing harder each outing than they would over a 162-game schedule? The shorter season seems to be the most reasonable explanation for so many starters increasing velocity. And if Means’ drops this year (it was lower in his last outing than it was last year), what does that do to his production, especially in a difficult division? 

Now that it’s the end of March, what are the thoughts and feelings here? Pitcherlist still has him as the no47 SP. 

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PitcherList is way too high on this guy and I think I regret drafting him tbh.  Miserable spring.  Hope I'm wrong but I dont see anything that instills confidence.  Dude LOVES giving up HRs 

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On 3/27/2021 at 6:34 PM, midlip said:

PitcherList is way too high on this guy and I think I regret drafting him tbh.  Miserable spring.  Hope I'm wrong but I dont see anything that instills confidence.  Dude LOVES giving up HRs 

A third of the hits he allowed in 2020 were HR, and I highly doubt that replicates itself. He’s never allowed HR at that kind of pace at any other point in his professional career, so I don’t know why you say he loves giving up HR. Even in the spring, he’s allowed two over 19 innings. 

If he gives up a ton of HR this year, I’ll be in agreement. 

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Looked outstanding today. Went seven scoreless, allowing just one hit. His fastball was touching 93 regularly in the 6th and 7th, which is line what we were seeing in ST...velo up from his rookie season but down from 2020 (unsurprising). 

It was encouraging to watch. 

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I was very impressed with his change-up.  Just wow.  It made his 91 to 93 fastball look like it was 97 when he threw a fastball. 

Staying in the game for 7 innings should have allowed his opponents to get a feel for the timing etc but they never did.  He had the Sox batters totally off their feed all game long.  The dinky single in the 1st by Kike was the only hit he gave up then he picked him off almost immediately. 

He was in total control of his pitches on a day that never got out of the 30's and in a year where they are checking the baseballs now for any kind of substance including ball inspections after the game.  How he managed that much control under those conditions was impressive.  Sox announcer Dennis Eckersley was falling over himself praising the guy.  This game is going to really build confidence in the kid going forward.

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1 hour ago, Fbaseballgod said:

I think Means has become a must-start.  Of course, owner's risk tolerance will be tested next week at the yankees, but still.  He's so good

It's one game, but including today, dating back to September 8th, 2020 against the Mets, he has pitched 31 innings, and given up only 13 hits, 4 runs while walking 3 and producing 35 strikeouts (this was against NYM, NYY, TB, TOR, BOS) so...with the thought that he arrived last September relatively unnoticed, yes absolutely.

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John Means business!

Fastball/changeup guys can be homer prone days it's not working. I wish he had another offspeed to fall back upon so I'm not completely on board, but he certainly might have jumped into must start territory.

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