While many O’s fans are still stinging that Trey Mancini was “snubbed” for the 2019 All-Star Game in favor of John Means, the fact is that Means had just as much of an argument for being included on the squad as did Trey.
A glance at the three main providers of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for fans tells the story. At FanGraphs, Means has racked up 1.9 fWAR to lead the team, compared to Mancini’s 1.6. Andrew Cashner even bests Mancini here, coming in at 1.8. At Baseball Reference, Mancini’s 0.8 bWAR isn’t even tops among hitters, as he comes in behind Jonathan Villar (1.0), Hanser Alberto, Chance Sisco, and Pedro Severino (all at 0.9). Means tops all O’s hurlers at 3.4 bWAR. Finally, over at Baseball Prospectus, Mancini’s 0.9 WARP comes in behind Villar (1.4) and Alberto (1.0), while Means is tied with Villar and leads all pitchers with 0.4 WARP.
Of course, there are plenty of arguments against WAR, and it’s not the end-all-be-all, but it’s a nice tool with which to compare players, and the fact that Mancini trails Means at all three key providers of the stat is telling.
John Means was the most deserving player to be the O’s representative at the All-Star Game, period.
Of course, it would have been nice if Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora had been able to find it in his heart to give Means at least one batter to face, but as O’s fans, we’re plenty used to our players getting snubbed in such fashion (#CitoSucks, forever and always). The Orioles and San Diego Padres were the only teams to not have a player appear in the game (not including the Blue Jays, whose representative, Marcus Stroman, was injured anyway). Did Aroldis Chapman REALLY have to face all three batters in the ninth? Why not let Means start the inning and get an out? He gave the Cleveland crowd what they wanted by allowing former Indian CC Sabathia to walk out onto the mound for a “visit” during the final frame…but no such bone was there to be tossed to O’s fans watching at home, I suppose.
Still, Means’ story is an incredible and inspiring one, and Cora being a jackass does nothing to take away from that fact.
The dude nearly quit baseball last year, as The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz reported, and even went so far as to create a LinkedIn page for himself.
Who knows what Means would have been doing? Selling mortgages? Slinging used cars? Perhaps betting on college ball to try to make ends meet? Now he’s an All-Star and a legitimate Rookie of the Year Candidate (his 3.2 bWAR is tops among pitchers in MLB, and is second to just Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe in the AL).
Birdland can’t wait to see how Means follows up his storybook first half.