Bubba Starling off to a fast start in spring training
Not all baseball fans know that two Gardner Edgerton players were selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.
The Royals picked outfielder Bubba Starling with the fourth overall pick, while the Atlanta Braves chose pitcher John Means in the 46th round. Means, who was on The Star’s All-Metro second team, chose to attend Fort Scott Community College rather than sign with Atlanta. After going 6-0 with a 1.14 ERA at Fort Scott, Means transferred to West Virginia.
In 2014, Means was picked by the Orioles in the 11th round of the draft, and he made a steady climb up Baltimore’s minor-league system.
Means’ big-league debut came last September in relief when he allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox. It was his only appearance in 2018.
After making the Orioles bullpen out of spring training, Means got his first major-league victory by giving up just one run in 3 1/3 innings of relief against the Yankees on March 31.
Means, who turns 26 on April 24, carries a 1.59 ERA in three games into Baltimore’s game Tuesday night against the Oakland A’s. It’s significant, because Means has been chosen as the Orioles’ “opener.” That means he’ll make his first major-league start.
Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reported that Means, who is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound left-hander, might get a shot later in the season to join the rotation.
“I was excited they have that kind of trust in me to start the game and obviously that’s what I’ve done my whole career,’’ Means told the Sun. “So, I’ll be no (stranger) to it.”
First pitch of Tuesday’s game, which will be thrown by Means, is at 6:05 p.m. The game will be available on MLBTV.