Here are more amazing Means no-no facts

May 6th, 2021

Can’t get enough of what did Wednesday? Does his near-perfect no-hitter against the Mariners still not feel real, a full day later?

You’re in luck. Here are some leftover facts and figures about the Orioles lefty, his historic day, and his exceptional 2021 season (all stats as of Thursday morning):

• Means’ success Wednesday was rooted in the way he poured in first-pitch strike after first-pitch strike. He got ahead of 26 of his 27 hitters, good for a 96.3 percent first-pitch strike rare. Only one other pitcher since 2000 has faced at least 25 batters with a higher first-pitch strike rate: Twins righty Brad Radke (96.4 percent) on June 30, 2004, against the White Sox. Radke allowed eight runs that day.

• Means also racked up 26 swinging strikes -- the most in a game by a Baltimore pitcher since the start of the pitch-tracking era (2008).

Most swinging strikes by an Orioles pitcher, since 2008

  1. John Means: 26 -- 5/5/21
  2. Kevin Gausman: 25 -- 5/22/18
  3. Dylan Bundy: 24 -- 4/20/18
  4. Asher Wojciechowski: 23 -- 7/21/19
  5. Kevin Gausman: 23 -- 9/14/15
  6. Dylan Bundy: 23 -- 8/29/17

Most single-game swinging strikes on changeups, 2021

  1. John Means: 14 — 5/6/21
  2. Corey Kluber: 13 — 5/2/21 vs. Detroit
  3. Lucas Giolito: 12 — 4/1/21 vs. LA Angels
  4. Lance McCullers Jr.: 11 —- 4/30/21 vs. Seattle
  5. Means: 11 — 4/30/21 vs. Oakland
  6. Giolito: 11 — 5/2/21 vs. Cleveland

• All told, opposing hitters are batting just .135 against Means this season. That trails only deGrom (.134) among MLB qualifiers.

• Those opponents are completely flummoxed by Means’ changeup. Batters are just 6-for-59 (.102) against Means’ change this year, with an average exit velocity of just 79.7 mph. Means’ whiff rate with the pitch is 41.5 percent.

Most in-zone swings and misses (all pitches), 2021

  1. John Means: 77
  2. Jacob deGrom: 65
  3. Tyler Glasnow: 61
  4. Trevor Rogers: 58
  5. Max Scherzer: 57

And finally, Wins Above Replacement. No matter how you slice it, Means has been among the most valuable pitchers in baseball so far this season.

Baseball Reference WAR:

  1. Gerrit Cole, 2.4 WAR
  2. Jacob deGrom, 2.2
  3. John Means, 1.5
  4. Aaron Nola, 1.5
  5. Tyler Glasnow, 1.5

Fangraphs WAR:

  1. John Means, 2.3 WAR
  2. Danny Duffy, 1.7
  3. Jon Gray, 1.6
  4. Gerrit Cole, 1.6
  5. Brandon Woodruff, 1.6
  6. Jacob deGrom, 1.6

Elsewhere in the Orioles’ rotation

On Wednesday, one day after Jorge López fell short of completing five innings for the fifth time in six starts, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde tamped down the idea of sending López to the bullpen.

“I’m not ready to give up on him,” Hyde said. “I really like this guy’s arm. He’s been a starter almost his entire career. I’d like to push him a little bit. I want to make it easy on him one time, give him a lead and just let him go.”

Since arriving in Baltimore via a waiver claim from Kansas City last season, López is 3-5 with a 6.40 ERA in 15 games (12 starts). He made three appearances in long relief for the Orioles in 2020 before joining the rotation for good in late August. He has slightly better splits as a reliever in his career.

As a starter: 39 games, 6.39 ERA, 1.489 WHIP

As a reliever: 36 games, 5.24 ERA, 1.485 WHIP

Pitching plans

When the Orioles optioned Bruce Zimmermann to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday, they had the opportunity to function with a four-man rotation in the short-term and keep everyone in line, due to several off-days. They have decided against that strategy.

The team instead is giving Dean Kremer and López an extra day of rest and keeping Saturday against the Red Sox, which would’ve been Zimmermann’s turn, open for the time being. That leaves the door open to promote another prospect for a potential spot start -- perhaps lefty Keegan Akin, Baltimore’s No. 10 prospect who is slated to start Friday for Triple-A Norfolk. The O’s could also opt to go with a bullpen game.

Matt Harvey will start Friday’s opener against Boston opposite Eduardo Rodriguez, with Kremer going Sunday against Nick Pivetta and López pegged for Monday against Martín Pérez. Means’ next start is not set in stone, but likely to come Tuesday against the Mets at Citi Field.