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You'd be forgiven for not knowing who John Means is or why anyone should care about him. He hasn't pitched extensively since 2021, and his numbers prior to then don't exactly jump off the page. He doesn't throw especially hard or miss a ton of bats, and to the extent we saw him make it back from Tommy John surgery late last year, well ... it wasn't much to see.

But Means does two things in a way few pitchers do: He throws strikes, and he serves up fly balls. Together, those traits have made for a career 1.05 WHIP, which is the one number that does jump off the page. When he allows damage, it's typically by way of home runs -- a byproduct of his high fly-ball rate -- but while in past years, that vulnerability was amplified by his home environment, you're probably aware that Camden Yards has undergone some renovations since then. It's much, much deeper in left field, which plays to the strengths of a left-handed fly-ball pitcher like Means. Fly balls that aren't home runs are generally outs, so if what was a home run before is an out now, even better days could be ahead for him.

Just look what he did in his season debut Saturday, which wasn't even in Baltimore but Cincinnati, home of the most homer-friendly park of all.

Stock Up
BAL Baltimore • #47 • Age: 31
Saturday at Reds
INN
7
H
3
ER
0
BB
0
K
8
Suffice it to say the backstory for John Means is a long and arduous one, but the bottom line is that the version we saw Saturday is about the best we've ever seen. He was returning most directly from a forearm strain but also effectively from Tommy John surgery (save for four starts late last season when he was mostly not himself), and the extra recovery time was evident in his secondary arsenal. His bread-and-butter changeup was responsible for eight of his 19 whiffs, but he also got six on his slider. Both were up 1-2 mph from that four-start stint last year, putting them in the same range as during his breakout 2021 season, when he delivered a 3.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 8.2 K/9. The new dimensions in Baltimore should improve on that middling ERA and maybe also that already stellar WHIP. It adds up to a Bailey Ober-like ceiling for Means, only with the Orioles offense to back it up.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #96 • Age: 25
Saturday at Rays
INN
6.2
H
5
ER
1
BB
1
K
6
You can never be certain how the latest high-profile call-up will acclimate to the majors, particularly in the case of one like Christian Scott, who showed a clear vulnerability to the long ball (2.5 per nine innings) during his time at Triple-A. But who would have guessed that Scott's big-league debut Saturday at the Rays would be his first start this season without allowing a home run? It gave us a clear test case as to whether his strengths would play, and the answers was a resounding yes. He had 18 swinging strikes in all, his slider and sweeper coaxing chases out of the zone while his fastball played up in the zone. And he was in the zone plenty, throwing 71 percent of his pitches for strikes. With Adrian Houser being bumped to the bullpen, Scott has enough runway that he needs to be rostered in all leagues.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #5 • Age: 24
2024 Stats
AVG
.220
HR
7
SB
3
OPS
.743
AB
123
K
30
Christopher Morel had a 12-game stretch in 2023 in which he homered nine times and an 18-game stretch in which he homered seven times. From the time he debuted in 2022, streaking has been his thing, so while your faith may have been shaken when he hit three homers in his first 27 games this year (batting .210), he has now homered four times in his past seven games, including one each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It bodes well for his immediate future, and the fact he's striking out at only a 22 percent rate compared to 32 percent in 2022-23 bodes well for his long-term future. It suggests the cold stretches may not be as debilitating as before, which is a potential game-changer for a player already known to have 30-homer, 15-steal potential.
TB Tampa Bay • #52 • Age: 28
Saturday vs. Mets
INN
6
H
6
ER
1
BB
0
K
7
Zack Littell's start against the Mets Saturday was the clincher for me: The Rays have worked their magic on yet another pitcher, this one the unlikeliest of all. He was a pitch-to-contact reliever in his previous stops, and here he is not just starting but putting up a 12.9 percent swinging-strike rate. That's in the top 20 among qualifiers. His 3.08 xERA, 2.38 FIP and 2.91 xFIP all back up what Littell is doing, and it's looking more and more like he's someone you should plan to keep on your roster the rest of the way.
CLE Cleveland • #9 • Age: 23
2024 Minors
AVG
.303
HR
9
OPS
1.017
AB
109
BB
15
K
22
While Steven Kwan's hamstring strain is an unfortunate way for it to come about, Kyle Manzardo's impending arrival Monday could be a game-changer for Fantasy. He's been on quite the heater at Triple-A Columbus, homering eight times in his past 13 games, which represents a sharp turnaround from his disappointing 2023. It's more in line with his breakout 2022, when he hit .327 with a 1.043 OPS between two levels, and though he failed to live up to those numbers in his first taste of Triple-A last year, his plate discipline and exit velocity readings remained strong. That's of course true now as well, and the most impressive number of all might be his 90.5 percent zone-contact rate. It means that when he gets a pitch to hit, he doesn't miss it, which should make for an easier transition to the majors. I suspect he'll have no trouble getting at-bats either given the Guardians' revolving door of nobodies at DH.
WAS Washington • #2 • Age: 24
2024 Stats
AVG
.337
HR
3
SB
6
OPS
.891
AB
98
K
20
Luis Garcia somehow managed to put up 31 points in standard CBS Sports leagues this past week even though he was limited to only four starts. The best of them was his 4-for-4 performance Sunday in which he contributed a home run and a stolen base, but he also homered two days prior, finally beginning to live up to his .512 xSLG. His Statcast page has been lit up in red all season long, and now this his actual numbers are following suit, there's all the more reason to believe he's in the midst of a breakout at age 23. If the Nationals weren't so committed to sitting him against left-handed pitchers, he'd be rostered everywhere by now. A team in their position should be prioritizing development over everything else, so if Garcia keeps it going, they'll eventually relent.
MIL Milwaukee • #29 • Age: 30
2024 Stats
SV
2
INN
7.2
H
4
ER
1
BB
3
K
7
The Brewers had only one save chance over the weekend, and it went to Trevor Megill, with Joel Payamps working the eighth inning. The last time the Brewers had a save chance was about a week earlier, but the arrangement was the same, with Megill working the ninth and Payamps working the eighth. With a fastball that brushes triple digits, Megill may be a more natural fit for closer duties, and it sure seems like a role reversal has occurred even though Payamps recorded three saves in the span of a week prior to Megill notching his first.
Stock Down
TEX Texas • #36 • Age: 22
2024 Stats
AVG
.224
HR
1
SB
1
AB
116
BB
11
K
29
Wyatt Langford's hamstring injury may trail Trea Turner's and Steven Kwan's as the hamstring injury of greatest significance this weekend, but it presents the greatest dilemma for Fantasy Baseball. After all, Langford had brought nothing but disappointment so far in his rookie season, such that this injury comes almost as a sigh of relief to those who felt compelled to start him. With injuries piling up and IL space being limited in most leagues, might you even give some thought to cutting him loose? In a Head-to-Head points league, where bench space is best used for starting pitchers and IL space is limited, I could see how Langford might be the odd man out. I do think you may come to regret that move, and I still trust Langford to turn his rookie season around, whenever he gets that chance again. But roster limitations being what they are, I wouldn't be surprised if he appears on the waiver wire in some leagues.
PHI Philadelphia • #22 • Age: 31
2024 Stats
ERA
1.67
WHIP
0.84
INN
32.1
BB
10
K
36
The day that no Spencer Turnbull investor wanted to see has finally arrived. The early-season surprise has been banished to the bullpen in favor of Taijuan Walker, manager Rob Thomson said Saturday. The Phillies did go six-man for Walker's first turn through the rotation, but it was only a temporary solution. And so Turnbull, whose new sweeper had made him a true standout in the early going, will work in long relief, albeit with an eye on keeping him stretched out should another opening develop. In the year of our Lord 2024, that's a near certainty, which is why dropping Turnbull may not be a slam dunk in leagues where quality pitching is scarce. If it's your best bet for adding Christian Scott or John Means, though, go ahead and do it.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #20 • Age: 31
Saturday at Cardinals
INN
4.1
H
4
ER
5
BB
5
K
2
I wouldn't say I'm totally disowning Erick Fedde after his disappointing outing at the Cardinals Saturday, but it did serve as a reality check after a week of him being one of the most buzzed-about players on the waiver wire. What makes evaluating him so complicated is that all optimism stems from his performance in a foreign league, where not everything can be taken at face value. A two-start stretch in which he struck out a combined 20 and walked none over 14 1/3 innings.offered renewed hope that his MVP performance in South Korea would translate, but when pitching for a team like the White Sox, he can't afford to be so hit-or-miss. The Cardinals presented a favorable matchup, and he couldn't even throw strikes consistently. It makes it tough to say when he'll actually be worth using in Fantasy.
KC Kansas City • #52 • Age: 32
Saturday vs. Rangers
INN
3.2
H
9
ER
7
BB
1
K
3
Either Michael Wacha is just going through a rough patch or his 2024 is a long overdue lesson in regression. What I mean is that his 3.27 ERA from 2022 through 2023 may have lulled us into a false sense of security given that he was no great shakes before then. His current 4.41 xERA, 3.84 FIP and 4.08 xFIP are basically identical to those past two years and more indicative of his talent level. Regression doesn't happen on a timeline and doesn't always play out within a season or even two. It may be coming home to roost for Wacha, or it may not, but given the surplus of rosterable pitchers in Fantasy Baseball right now, I'd use this slump and and my longstanding skepticism as an excuse to drop him in leagues with 12 teams or fewer.