Improved maturity and command have been crucial to Johnny Cueto's recent success.
Johnny Cueto spent last season atop the NL Central champion Cincinnati Reds rotation, the culmination of a gradual evolution from erratic bat-missing fly-baller to consistent pitch-to-contact groundball-getter. Not every thrower-to-pitcher transition happens so smoothly, as even the best power-pitching prospects often fail to realize their full potential. But the Reds shepherded Cueto through his maturation process with a nice mix of praise and push, and their patience is being thoroughly rewarded.
Cueto broke camp in 2008 as an undersized righty with a big arm, making his mark early on by painting the corners with an “explosive” fastball. With "clean and loose" arm action and “unbelievable command," Cueto successfully attacked hitters with the hard stuff, amid lingering questions about his secondary offerings.
The Reds lost the pitcher but won the battle. Now will they win the war?
From game one to game 162, the Reds rotation stayed perfectly intact. The only time a sixth man started was in August, when Todd Redmond was called up for a day to work the second game of a doubleheader. That durability turned a rotation that was merely pretty good into a huge asset.
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Looking at the interesting way that an interesting guy has been interestingly great.
Johnny Cueto is attempting to make history this season. If Cueto’s ERA remains static or improves, he would become the fourth starter* to lower his ERA in four straight seasons, joining Joe Benz,Joe Genewich, and Mudcat Grant. Accolades have been hard to come by for Cueto. His innings totals have left him out in the cold from making an All-Star appearance or receiving a Cy Young vote. The latter should change this year. Before it does, let’s recap the three reasons Cueto is so fun to watch.
Reason No. 1: The Delivery
Cueto returned from shoulder inflammation on May 8th last season. On June 22nd, he started the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Yankees. Cueto debuted his new Luis Tiant-like delivery that night. Go back and view Cueto’s delivery prior to the change and the added half-spin appears to be a natural progression. Cueto would throw seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball that night.
Doug issues Mechanics Report Cards for four pitchers who throw from high arm slots: Clay Buchholz, James McDonald, Johnny Cueto, and Joe Wieland.
I maintain a list of pitchers to analyze, comprised of equal parts self-indulgence and reader suggestion. The list grows longer by the day, with names being added much more quickly than they can be crossed off, so I figure that I am overdue for a multi-player piece that puts a dent in the pitcher queue.
The idea behind “Four of a Kind” is to select a quartet of pitchers who share a common bond, to break down each player's in-game mechanics, and to grade each one on the six subjects of the Mechanics Report Card (patent pending). The report cards represent single-game snapshots, with the recognition that pitching mechanics are dynamic throughout the season.
They led the National League in runs, but had too many question marks to capitalize.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
As in the AL, the Central division is as tight as can be, while in the East two Mets are predicted to take home some hardware along with their division flag.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the National League, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.