I nearly didn’t write this sleeper. It’s not that I don’t believe in John Means, but I’ve built a brand for over a decade that is “Guy who doesn’t draft Orioles starters.” Branding isn’t cheap, companies spend in the millions to get their name out there, and since I’m a million short of a million, all I had was my reluctance to touch an Orioles’ starter. Like Boog Powell at a buffet of rice cakes, it wasn’t that difficult to abstain. Not to be confused with Boog Powell at a BBQ buffet, which produces ab stains to his shirt. There were moments when Chris Tillman upped the level of difficulty to stay away from Orioles starters, but like Danny Cabrera things could never get that wild for me. Dan Duquette builds only winners, and Buck Showalter leads those winners to the brink of excellence like no other, but I just couldn’t! I even waited until Dylan Bundy was on a new team before fully embracing him. The branding was kept by any means necessary, until Means became necessary, as I told my marketing execs, who are interns from SUNY Albany. That’s the same school Steve Guttenberg went to! So, what can we expect from John Means for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the John Means sleeper, just wanted to announce all my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now. So II, the John Means sleeper:

How did I get into trouble and start liking John Means? I sorted by xBA for 4-seamers. Trevor Bauer’s xBA was .149 on his four-seamers, that was the 2nd best for pitchers who had thrown that pitch more than 350 times. You guessed number one, didn’t you? John Means’s xBA on four-seamers was .129. The only other starter who was close, but didn’t throw it as much was Walker Buehler, who also had a xBA of .129. Only other starters under .180 were Frankie Montas and Brandon Woodruff. There were only three other starters under .200 xBA — deGrom, Mahle, Fried. Means was regularly touching 95 MPH with his four-seamer this year. The pitch, ya know, that was clocked at barely 92 MPH last year. You lower your head, and ruefully, “So, that’s how you started liking an Orioles starter.” Yeah, that’s what I’m saying!

If John Means just had a four-seamer to take your breath away, I prolly wouldn’t have bothered ruining a decade of SEO work and branding expertise by my friends in Albany, who were nice enough to invite me there for Vanguard Week. Hows’ever, John Means had the 7th best changeup in 2019. Oh, that pitch was hot garbage in 2020, but he wasn’t good either. Well, for most of the year. His September starts (29 IP) saw a 2.48 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. His season stats were marred by an egregious July/August (north of 7 ERA). So, a guy can’t start off slow after having ten months off, including a three-month shutdown? You sound like someone who hasn’t quarantined enough. So, the change was crizzap, but his curve? .178 xBA and a Whiff% of 27.8%. In his 2019 season when he had a 3.60 ERA, he didn’t even have a working curve.

Yes, there’s issues. He can’t keep the ball in the yard, which won’t be helped by his park or his division, but at least he won’t have to deal with an insanely lopsided schedule in 2021. Last year, he upped (in reverse) his ground balls and lowered his fly balls (literally). If he can keep those gains, velocity increases, and stop handing out more gopher balls than a veterinarian with weird party favors, John Means could be a top 25 starter while costing nowhere near that price. For 2021, I’ll give John Means projections of 10-13/3.78/1.10/167 in 172 IP with a chance for more.

86 Comments
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Smitty
1 year ago

Why hasn’t MLB clarified weather or not the universal DH will be used in 2021? Could have something to do with why some FA’s (N. Cruz) are waiting, and many clubs too! Getter done for cryin out loud!
Means looks poised, deserves some consideration. Increased velo a plus

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
1 year ago

Are you liking Hilliard or Cron for this year?

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

He should play more with Dahl gone. Somebody will sign Cron, no

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Who would Hilliard split time with?

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
1 year ago

I’m thinking add Cron and Hilliard to my bench and drop Maalex and Jorge Mateo. Thoughts

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Desmond has been done for years. If Hillard hits he’ll play.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

I’ll add Hilliard and Cron, if they do nothing I’ll drop and replace them. No worries

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
1 year ago

John Means Business!

He did well for me in a lot of places last year. I don’t see him regressing. Changeup development has been in point. Potential Arrieta if GB% stays where it was last year.

Heaney or Means in a redraft?

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
1 year ago

Not sure I told you. Lockdown ended a few days before Christmas. Lockdowe again before New Year, no celebrations, etc. We will stay lockdowed until at least the end of January. I’m not going crazy, I am fine. Help lol

everywhereblair
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
1 year ago

MOCK DRAFT SZN!

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

NUX, I think invited me awhile back, but can’t do it over here. Appreciate the offer, thanks!

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Lol no dribbling, yet, in the bubble.
Luckily there has been a lot of trade talk and trades in my dynasty. Plus I moved back to the beach and I get out most days and walk and take photos. They’re on my Twitter if you’d like to have a look.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Im in Kilkee, no nothing of that movie

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

No worries. Thanks on Kilkee, really enjoying it so far can’t wait for spring and summer

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

October

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
1 year ago

First time long time Grey
Won my league last year mostly due to your wisdom. Love all of our work. Just signed up for your posts on Patreon and already thankful I did.

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated….

12 Teamer H2H Points League
$1000 draft budget
Keep whoever you want with progressive cost each year
20-40-60-80-100-125-150-175-200 etc
Any player drafted for more than $150 automatically bumps down to the $125 tier for the next year and progresses from there

Who you keeping?

Jose Ramirez – $125
Bryce Harper – $125
J.D. Martinez – $125
Manny Machado – $100
Shohei Ohtani – $80
Starling Marte – $80
Xander Bogaerts – $80
Ketel Marte – $80
Gavin Lux – $60
Jonathan Villar – $40
Lance Lynn – $40
Max Fried – $40
James Paxton – $40
Liam Hendriks – $40
Luis Roberts – $40
Trent Grisham – $20
Julio Rodriguez – $20
Jose Urquidy – $20
Alex Verdugo – $20
Roberto Osuna – $20
Kyle Lewis – $20
Dustin May – $20
Kenta Maeda – $20
Spencer Howard – $20
Framber Valdez – $20

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Yep can keep or draft anyone we want with our $1000. Any leftover draft money serves a free agent dollars. Ohtani as both hitter and pitcher. My league doesn’t seem to value Ohtani properly so I may be able to get him back at an even cheaper price….

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Hoping to have a couple hundred for doing some value hunting and for free agency/roster churn during the year. Let’s say I want to go in with at least $200 but am not opposed to more. I feel like Ramirez and Harper and decent value at $125 but may need to throw one or both back to have depth $$$

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Including all you mentioned, as well as Lynn and Hendriks (was planning on both prior to your input but not sure on Hendriks), throwing back Harper, leaves me $295. Seems copacetic?

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Deeply appreciated. Anyone who hasn’t subscribed here or on Patreon NEED to do so!

Jareth Wilson
Jareth Wilson
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Just got an offer of my Ramirez ($125) for his Ryu ($60). You biting?

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

Good Morning Grey (I typed it correctly this time). I just received another trade offer and would like you r thoughts on it.

I give up: Yuli Gurriel ($33),( I have Realmuto, Nola, Bellinger, Bohm, Cronenworth, Freeman aand Guerrero that can play first as well) and Frankie Montas ($5).

I get; Brad Hand ($39), and Kepler ($28). He also has Arozarena, Calhoun, A. Garcia, L. Gurriel, Lopes, Nimmo, Ozuna and Springer.

Should I ask for someone else other than Kepler?

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

l asked him and now waiting for a response back

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

He said my choices for Montas and Gurriel in exchange would be Hand and one of these OF’s (Kepler, Franmil Reyes. Tim Lopes or Avasil Garcia

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

he doesnt have OF eligibility

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

will he be playing OF or just be a DH this season

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

Grey,

He wants to do Montas and Gurriel for Hand and Reyes

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

id want another piece to balance the salary difference. He wont trade a pitcher back. Here is his roster:

C Francisco Mejia (TB) $6.00
C *Wilson Ramos () $24.00
1B/2B/3B Wilmer Flores (SF) $5.00
1B Eric Hosmer (SD) $32.00
1B/2B/3B/SS Ryan McMahon (COL) $6.00
1B/OF *Danny Santana () $6.00
1B Christian Walker (ARI) $6.00
2B Luis Arraez (MIN) $6.00
2B/3B Eduardo Escobar (ARI) $33.00
2B/SS Josh Rojas (ARI) $6.00
3B Josh Donaldson (MIN) $40.00
SS Carlos Correa (HOU) $40.00
OF Randy Arozarena (TB) $5.00
OF Kole Calhoun (ARI) $6.00
OF Avisail Garcia (MIL) $6.00
OF Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. (TOR) $17.00
OF Max Kepler (MIN) $28.00
OF Tim Lopes (SEA) $5.00
OF Brandon Nimmo (NYM) $26.00
OF *Marcell Ozuna () $41.00
OF *George Springer () $39.00
UT *Edwin Encarnacion () $6.00
UT Franmil Reyes (CLE) $35.00
SP Shane Bieber (CLE) $35.00
SP/RP Brandon Bielak (HOU) $5.00
SP Mike Clevinger (SD) IL (+) $48.00
SP *Mike FIers () $6.00
SP Jack Flaherty (STL) $43.00
SP Tyler Glasnow (TB) $28.00
SP Marco Gonzales (SEA) $18.00
SP Dallas Keuchel (CWS) $33.00
SP Miles Mikolas (STL) $34.00
SP David Peterson (NYM) $5.00
SP Zach Plesac (CLE) $5.00
SP Trent Thornton (TOR) $6.00
SP Framber Valdez (HOU) $5.00
SP Austin Voth (WAS) $5.00
SP Luke Weaver (ARI) $28.00
SP Brandon Woodruff (MIL) $6.00
RP Jalen Beeks (BOS) $5.00
RP Zack Britton (NYY) $35.00
RP *Andrew Chafin () $5.00
RP Aroldis Chapman (NYY) $44.00
RP Emmanuel Clase (CLE) $5.00
RP Josh Hader (MIL) $35.00
RP *Brad Hand () $39.00
RP Hunter Harvey (BAL) $6.00
RP *Brad Peacock () $20.00
RP *Chaz Roe () $5.00
RP *Trevor Rosenthal () $5.00
RP Ryan Stanek (HOU) $5.00
RP *Kirby Yates () $40.00

Who could I ask for?
If he says no, how much of the $35 differnce in salary should I ask for? All?

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

he is offering $20 back to cover part of the difference in salary

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

ok this is the latest offer:

I give him: Yuliu Gurriel($35) and Frankie Montas($6)

I get: Brad Hand ($39), Franmil Reyes ($35), and $20 of cap room

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

it helps me in my bullpen and could help my outfield

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

I trust your judgement over my own

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

it would strengthen my bullpen which will loo like this:

RP Nick Anderson (TB) $6.00
RP *Alex Colome () $22.00
RP Giovanny Gallegos (STL) $6.00
RP *Brad Hand () $39.00
RP Raisel Iglesias (LAA) $39.00
RP Emilio Pagan (SD) $6.00
RP Tanner Rainey (WAS) $5.00
RP Will Smith (ATL) $17.00

Looks Better right?

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

Hand will get me saves wherever he lands. Not sure about the situation in Washington is.

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Scott Kimmel
1 year ago

so you think I should pass on the deal?

Sweatpants Nation
Sweatpants Nation
1 year ago

Hey! I graduated from SUNY-Albany. Thanks for the shout out. Go Great Danes! (Our beloved Scooby-Do mascot)
Also, will consider Means so thanks for that, too.

thehombre
thehombre
1 year ago

Just imagine how good he will be once the Orioles trade him for pennies on the dollar. ie Bundy, Arrieta, etc

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
1 year ago

Grey!!!

Loved the John Means fantasy / sleeper report.

a. 2020 was a weird season for MLB for most of us. There were some things that were great and we expected them to be great (like FTJ) and then there were things that were just not right or outside of the norm (like Duvall) I think if Duvall gets 162 games he won’t hit 60 HRs, the power potential is there but so is the potential to K or he figured something out? Hard to say.

b. Love John, keep ’em comin’.

c. MLB quote of the day for January 12, 2021

1. Bill Madlock, born January 12, 1951

‘There’s no right or wrong way to hit. Every hitter is different and you have to relate… People try to make up new ways to hit. There aren’t really any new ways. The game hasn’t changed in 200 years and it’s not going to for another 200.’

Bill Madlock in The Las Vegas Sun (Anthony Fenech, Ex-big league batting champ Bill Madlock helps local youth with swings, 05/10/2010)

2. Bobby Crosby, born January 12, 1980

‘All of my strengths are defensively. I’ve always been defensive, that has been my big aspect of the game. My weakness I would say would be being a consistent hitter day in and day out having that good day. I’ll have a hot streak and a cold streak but its just being consistent all throughout is my weakness.’

Bobby Crosby on MLB.com (Harton, 09/04/2004)

3. Dontrelle Willis, born January 12, 1982

‘Utilizing a wicked slider and explosive fastball, he (Dontrelle Willis) then worked a perfect seventh and recorded the first two outs in the eighth (2003 World Series) before allowing Bernie Williams’ single to left and Hideki Matsui’s single up the middle.’

The New York Post (Staff Writer, ‘Willis Was Wonderful’, October 19, 2003)

4. Rudy Arias, died January 12, 2018

‘(Al) Lopez called me on the phone and said, ‘Rudy, warm up real hard and when (Ryne) Duren comes to hit, hit him in the head. Metele un pelotazo (hit him with the ball).’ Ay dios mio! (Oh my God) He had twenty pitchers and he used me, the small guy! When Duren comes to hit, I threw at his head and he moved. The next pitch, I knew he was going to move back, so I hit him right in the back. He came at me with the bat. I told Duren I didn’t mean to hit him. (Ted) Kluszewski stood right in front of me and told me not to run (Research Notes: It was actually Earl Torgeson). He was a big guy!”

Rudy Arias (Nick Diunte Interview, Rudy Arias, member of the 1959 Go-Go White Sox, dies at 86, Source)

Cheers,
Ante

Charlie
Charlie
1 year ago

Grey,

Thank you so much for continuing to deliver the best fantasy content across the interwebs! Absolutely love your content and have no problem ponying up every single year. WIth that said, what is the difference between the MLB Roto Deluxe for ~$30 through the Razzball website vs your content on Patreon?

I know you have three tiers on Patreon (1. Podcasts, 2. Early rankings and buy/sell, 3. both 1 and 2), but is it the Patreon content the same as the Razzball ~$30 subscription content but just gets posted to Patreon earlier, or is there additional fantasy baseball content on Patreon?

Thanks and keep up the great job!!

Charlie
Charlie
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Grey;

Thank you so much for the explanation! With Razzball giving us all a leg up on our competition, your patreon page sounds like it will give us two legs up! I will definitely be subscribing, but will likely wait until the season starts and you start producing buy/sell content.

Lol until then, I’ll have to wait and anxiously count down the days until next week when your rankings are released. Lol I’ve been waking up every day and before I get out of bed I check to see if they’ve been released. 5 more days…lol I can do this…maybe, maybe not.

Charlie
Charlie
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Charlie: only 5 more days. I can’t wait!
My wife: aww you remembered our anniversary. How sweet!
Charlie: Shit. I mean yeaaaaa…brb I need to go out and run some errands.

Charlie
Charlie
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Thanks!!! Same to you, Cougs and Ted!!