Before pitchers and catchers around MLB reported for spring training on Wednesday, outlets had already begun releasing their playoff projections.
Orioles fans surely weren't shocked to find their team near the bottom of FanGraph's playoff odds, given they haven't seen the postseason in four seasons as they continue to rebuild. But some reasonably took exception to the fact that they were the lone team from either division given a 0.0% chance of making the playoffs.
As much as the players might do their best to shut it out, this sort of chatter inevitably reaches the clubhouse. Orioles pitcher John Means seemed well aware on Wednesday.
"We try not to listen to the noise too much," Means said to reporters on Wednesday.
Means was promoted to the majors in 2018 and received All-Star recognition in 2019 after posting a 3.60 ERA in his rookie campaign. The Orioles finished fifth in the AL East that year and improved to fourth in last year's 60-game season.
"I think the last two years, we have been projected to finish last and I don't think we've done it yet. I think we've outplayed projections every year that I've been up there and the plan is to out play the projections again," the 26-year-old leftie said. "I think we have a better chance than 0.0 [percent] for sure but we're just going to try to play."
Means spoke modestly, but being counted out in the most literal sense possible has to add a little extra fuel to the Orioles fire. As the group kicks things off in Sarasota, Fla. this week, you can be sure that the number '0.0' is in the back of their minds.