He is tied for second in the NL in wins (11), he is second in ERA (2.28), and while his strikeout totals aren’t as prolific as Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, he still has 94 punchouts (28th in NL) in 126.1 innings in 2012. Johnny Cueto is an ace and he is, quite possibly, the most underrated pitcher in MLB.
Since the start of the 2011 season, Cueto is 20-10 (43 starts) with a 2.29 ERA in 282.1 innings. At the age of 26, he has established himself as a dominating starter, albeit without dominating periferals. Why is it that he isn’t as well respected for his dominance?
Cueto doesn’t have the perfect game like Matt Cain, the hype and production of Stephen Strasburg, or the dancing, 80+ mph knuckleball of the New York hype machine driven R.A. Dickey. Cueto pitches in a small-market, his ERA is the only dazzling number that pops out, and he has one more thing that goes against him…
Cueto has never thrown 200 innings in a season. His career high was 185.2 in 2010. He is currently on pace to finish 20-9 over 227.1 innings if he doesn’t hit any snags due to injury to finish off the season, as Cincinnati fans gasp at the thought of losing Cueto like they’ve lost Joey Votto.
Cueto has missed 59 games due to right shoulder pain or inflammation in his career. This has been Cueto’s biggest issue in reaching the plateau of superstardom, and the reason why he isn’t getting pimped for his abilities the way that others have, even the 37-year-old journeyman gets more than him!
This is just a lowly, self-created attempt at a sports blog, however, Johnny Cueto deserves more. Johnny Cueto is a top-notch starting pitcher and he is worthy of the National League Cy Young in 2012. Anything less than that, especially if Cueto stays healthy, should be considered a disappointment. He isn’t going to turn into Tim Lincecum and start getting absolutely rocked on a consistent basis, because he never was Lincecum. He’s still trying to get there. This is the year that the rest of the baseball world sees what Cincinnati has for a few years.