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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where John Means was Rookie of the Year runner-up

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He didn’t take home the hardware, but Means was better than all but one rookie in the American League this year. Not too shabby.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

No shocking upsets occurred yesterday in the AL Rookie of the Year results. John Means didn’t bring home the award. The AstrosYordan Alvarez, as expected, was the runaway winner, hauling in all 30 first-place votes. Means settled for second place, slotting ahead of the RaysBrandon Lowe.

There was no world in which Alvarez wasn’t going to win after he put up video game-type offensive numbers for the best team in baseball. Still, I was hoping one or two voters would toss a first-place vote to Means, who led Alvarez in bWAR and also spent the entire season in the majors while Alvarez wasn’t called up until June.

Means, of course, has absolutely nothing to feel bad about. It was an incredible 2019 season for the left-hander, who emerged as one of the biggest success stories in recent O’s memory, developing from a fringe prospect into the Orioles’ ace. He was the first Oriole to place as high as second in the Rookie of the Year voting since Rodrigo Lopez in 2002.

Between Means’ second-place finish in the ROY and his getting married last weekend, it’s been a memorable few days for the 26-year-old. His future looks bright indeed.

Meanwhile, there’s another spot opening up on the Orioles’ 40-man roster:

I’m a little surprised. Brooks wasn’t anything special for the Orioles, but he seemed to have the inside track for a roster spot on next year’s club. The KBO could be a better opportunity for him, though. Best of luck to Aaron overseas.

Links

Orioles could use this week’s GM meetings as opportunity to jump the market on offseason trades - Baltimore Sun
As Jon Meoli writes, there’s a chance the O’s could get the hot stove cooking early by pulling off a big trade or two this week. I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be nice to actually have some O’s news to talk about before, like, January.

Checking in on some top minor league arms with Chris Holt - Steve Melewski
Steve Melewski continues his interview with the O’s director of pitching, who offers his thoughts on the club’s top pitching prospects. Interestingly, Melewski includes Bruce Zimmermann on this list, alongside Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, and Michael Baumann.

Baltimore Orioles Planning Oriole Park Future | Ballpark Digest
TIL there’s a web site that focuses exclusively on news about baseball parks. Here they sum up some of the renovations that could soon be coming to Camden Yards. Fingers crossed that the public Wi-Fi ends up happening.

Harvey’s on solid bullpen ground in 2020 - School of Roch
What say you, Camden Chatters — should the O’s use Hunter Harvey as a starter or a reliever in 2020? Even though he seems pretty happy in the bullpen, I’d like to see him get one more chance as a starter until it’s absolutely clear he’s not cut out for it.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only living ex-Oriole with a birthday today is one whose Baltimore career was kind of a dud, Sammy Sosa (51). The slugger was long removed from his days of home run glory when the O’s acquired him in 2005. He batted .221/.285/.376 with 14 homers in 102 games for the Birds. It’s also the birthday of the late Don Johnson (b. 1926, d. 2015), who was a pitcher for the 1955 Orioles, not the “Nash Bridges” actor.

On this day in 1980, the Orioles’ Steve Stone won the AL Cy Young Award over the Athletics’ Mike Norris. Almost four decades later, no Oriole has won a Cy Young since. Kudos to Stone, but I must say, I have no idea how he beat Norris, whose ERA was 70 points better (2.53 to 3.23) and WHIP was markedly better (1.048 to 1.297), and who threw 34 more innings, had a better strikeout rate, and threw 24 complete games to Stone’s nine. Literally the only category Stone topped Norris in was wins (25 to 22). It’s almost as if awards voters back then put too much stock in wins.