Former Mountaineer Means gets All-Star call
MORGANTOWN — After debuting in the big leagues in late September last year, former West Virginia University pitcher John Means has flourished in 2019, even as his team the Baltimore Orioles have floundered in last place with the worst record in all of Major League baseball.
Means is a feel-good story even when setting aside he once pitched for WVU.
Now age 28, Means is a native of the state of Kansas, where he played in high school and pitched for one season at Fort Scott Community College.
He came to WVU for one season, parlaying a 6-2 record and 3.13 ERA in 2014 into being drafted in the 11th round by the Orioles. Being 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and a left-handed pitcher were Means’ professional credentials as much as anything.
In 2015, Means pitched for Delmarva of the Class A South Atlantic League. He actually pitched a complete-game no-hitter that season.
Means had stints at both Frederick and Bowie in 2016 before moving upward in the Baltimore organization to stay at Bowie, a Class AA team, in 2017.
Norfolk, a Class AAA team, was Means’ home for the 2018 season before he was elevated to Baltimore on September 24 of last season.
When this current season began, Means was in the bullpen.
After three appearances with 5.2 innings worked and a 1.59 ERA, Means went into Baltimore’s starting rotation.
He has been successful enough to have been Baltimore’s only player selected on June 28 to the American League All-Star team.
Means sported a 7-4 record and 2.50 ERA through the end of June. Opponents have batted only .219 against him and he has recorded 64 strikeouts in 75.2 innings pitched.
On May 6, he went a career-high seven innings and allowed just one run.
Means is the only Oriole player selected to the All-Star team.
Baltimore baseball has been a disaster for two seasons now.
But Means has blossomed in such a short period of time by big league baseball standards.
He is the only former WVU player in the Major Leagues at this time. And earning a roster spot on the American League All-Star team doesn’t happen often for an athlete born in Olathe, Kansas, who pitched for Fort Scott Community College and then for the Mountaineers in 2014.