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OnBaseMachine
10-21-2007, 11:14 AM
Johnny Cueto is pitching in the Winter League in Dominican Republic this offseason for Aguilas Cibaenas. I'm not too high on the idea of letting him pitch in winter ball considering he threw 161 innings this season, but that's just me. Anyway, Johnny made his first appearance on Friday and pitched 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 1.

5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K through one appearance.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Johnny%20Cueto&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=456501

lollipopcurve
10-21-2007, 11:29 AM
I believe I read that Krivsky said they were going to try to keep his innings under control this winter.

TeamBoone
10-21-2007, 01:14 PM
I thought there wasn't going to be any Dominican winter ball this year.

Falls City Beer
10-21-2007, 01:49 PM
I wish they'd stop doing winter ball altogether. It's pretty obviously done no good for Reds' pitchers so far. And probably done some damage.

dougdirt
10-21-2007, 01:56 PM
I wish they'd stop doing winter ball altogether. It's pretty obviously done no good for Reds' pitchers so far. And probably done some damage.

Who has is done no good for? Cueto pitched in it last year, he did fine this year.

Falls City Beer
10-21-2007, 01:58 PM
Who has is done no good for? Cueto pitched in it last year, he did fine this year.

IIRC, some guys who threw winter ball in the Dominican came to camp with tired arms. I can't remember who it was--late 90s/early 00s. Somebody help me out here (Big Sweat, maybe?).

I'm just saying: the benefits are dubious. I'd rather they be healthy; they can train without going all out in real competition.

TeamBoone
10-21-2007, 07:55 PM
I personally think that's what was wrong with Edwin the first half of the season... he was worn out.

I think he had more time to rest in the minors, and when he came back, he was well-rested and ready.

LoganBuck
10-21-2007, 10:43 PM
IIRC, some guys who threw winter ball in the Dominican came to camp with tired arms. I can't remember who it was--late 90s/early 00s. Somebody help me out here (Big Sweat, maybe?).

I'm just saying: the benefits are dubious. I'd rather they be healthy; they can train without going all out in real competition.

Wasn't Ricardo Arombles a pitcher who was over exposed in winter ball?

icehole3
10-22-2007, 06:51 AM
Arent these players under great pressure by their countries to play, not like they can just blow it off.

dougdirt
10-22-2007, 07:16 AM
Well, as far as Cueto goes, I think he threw something like 15 innings last season over a month and a half. I would expect a similar thing from him again this year.

texasdave
10-22-2007, 07:41 AM
Minor leaguers get paid very little. That is the impression that I get anyway. Most probably have to play Winter Ball to make ends meet. I could be wrong.

oneupper
10-22-2007, 08:11 AM
I thought there wasn't going to be any Dominican winter ball this year.

Puerto Rico cancelled the season. DomRep, Venezuela and Mexico are playing this year.

Falls City Beer
10-22-2007, 11:05 AM
Arent these players under great pressure by their countries to play, not like they can just blow it off.

I'd listen to whatever country is going to pay me $500,000 dollars for throwing a baseball for 50-60 innings next season.

Falls City Beer
10-22-2007, 11:06 AM
Well, as far as Cueto goes, I think he threw something like 15 innings last season over a month and a half. I would expect a similar thing from him again this year.

That's understandable. If a guy has some catching up to do, it's not a problem, but throwing guys down there after a full season seems like overkill.

oneupper
10-22-2007, 11:26 AM
Well, as far as Cueto goes, I think he threw something like 15 innings last season over a month and a half. I would expect a similar thing from him again this year.

Don't be so certain. What happens in the Winter Leagues is that most of the better local players will report late (mid, late November, early December). In the meantime, teams still have to put guys on the field, so they'll turn to younger players coming back from single A or the Mexican league while they wait for the AA, AAA and MLB players.

That was Cueto's role last year. After December, I'm not even sure he was on the active roster.

This year however, after pitching in AAA, he might actually have a spot on the Aguilas' rotation, in which case he could get as many as 10-15 starts.

dougdirt
10-22-2007, 11:28 AM
Don't be so certain. What happens in the Winter Leagues is that most of the better local players will report late (mid, late November, early December). In the meantime, teams still have to put guys on the field, so they'll turn to younger players coming back from single A or the Mexican league while they wait for the AA, AAA and MLB players.

That was Cueto's role last year. After December, I'm not even sure he was on the active roster.

This year however, after pitching in AAA, he might actually have a spot on the Aguilas' rotation, in which case he could get as many as 10-15 starts.

Possibly, although I would think the Reds have a limit on his arm and I doubt that number is any higher than 30 innings.

OnBaseMachine
11-21-2007, 09:04 PM
Cueto update:

He pitched on Tuesday and allowed one run on six hits in five innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. His updated Winter League line is as follows:

27 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 30 K, 2.67 ERA

Bip Roberts
11-21-2007, 11:21 PM
Im pretty sure hes going to have a great shot at making this years big league roster out of spring training.

reds44
11-22-2007, 02:32 AM
Cueto update:

He pitched on Tuesday and allowed one run on six hits in five innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. His updated Winter League line is as follows:

27 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 30 K, 2.67 ERA
He is a stud. Plain and simple.

*BaseClogger*
11-22-2007, 05:44 PM
and.......... shut it down!

wheels
11-22-2007, 08:37 PM
and.......... shut it down!

I second, third, and fourth that motion.

SirFelixCat
11-23-2007, 10:44 AM
Anyone else REALLY excited to see this kid in ST this spring? :thumbup:

*BaseClogger*
11-23-2007, 11:14 AM
Anyone else REALLY excited to see this kid in ST this spring? :thumbup:

yes

Bip Roberts
11-23-2007, 12:36 PM
Anyone else REALLY excited to see this kid in ST this spring? :thumbup:
i think every reds fan is dieing to see if he can continue to dominate.

reds44
11-29-2007, 04:56 PM
From Fay:


Johnny Cueto (yes, his middle initial is B for Brent) is pitching very well in the Dominican Winter League. He's 4-1 with 2.84 ERA in six starts for Aguilas. He's allowed 31 hits in 31 2/3 innings. Most impressive: 37 strikeouts, seven walks.

Given that the Reds move slowly with young pitchers, I would not expect Cueto to make the club out of spring training. But he seems to be the kind of guy who adjusts to his playing level quickly.

Rick Sweet, the Louisville manager, just raved about the kid. Cueto pitches in the 90-92 range, but he'll throw one 96, 97 when he needs to. It's going to be interesting to see how the Reds handle him.

OnBaseMachine
11-29-2007, 06:17 PM
I am going to be extremely PO'd if Cueto comes up with an injury this season. He needs to be shut down NOW.

mth123
11-29-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm starting to think this is a crash course in order to by-pass AAA. The only reason I can come up with, and its purely my own speculation, is that Cueto is going to be given every opportunity to jump straight to the Reds rotation.

oneupper
11-29-2007, 06:37 PM
Cueto's latest line: (Nov 28)

4.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K (no HR). He was the losing pitcher.

lollipopcurve
11-29-2007, 06:40 PM
Cueto is going to be given every opportunity to jump straight to the Reds rotation.

Or bullpen, as training ground for the rotation.

dougdirt
11-29-2007, 06:49 PM
Or bullpen, as training ground for the rotation.

Generally I dont like that for starting pitching prospects for two reasons.
1. It takes away developmental time for a specific pitch, as most pitchers in the bullpen are 2 pitch types. This doesn't apply to Cueto, as he has good feel for all of his pitches he throws.

2. The transition from bullpen back to starter mid season. I just don't like the idea of doing that to a top arm. 'Scrappy' veteran types I don't mind so much.

mth123
11-29-2007, 07:15 PM
Generally I dont like that for starting pitching prospects for two reasons.
1. It takes away developmental time for a specific pitch, as most pitchers in the bullpen are 2 pitch types. This doesn't apply to Cueto, as he has good feel for all of his pitches he throws.

2. The transition from bullpen back to starter mid season. I just don't like the idea of doing that to a top arm. 'Scrappy' veteran types I don't mind so much.

I agree. A pitcher this young needs to stay on the developmental path that increases his innings by 30 or 40 per year. Jumping back and forth is dangerous IMO. Cueto threw 138 innings in 2006 and jumped to 161 or so in 2007. These Winter innings tacked on has Cueto near 200 and seems a risky jump IMO.

I don't think the back and forth game or the big innings jumps should happen before age 23 and ideally age 25.

dougdirt
11-29-2007, 07:40 PM
I agree. A pitcher this young needs to stay on the developmental path that increases his innings by 30 or 40 per year. Jumping back and forth is dangerous IMO. Cueto threw 138 innings in 2006 and jumped to 161 or so in 2007. These Winter innings tacked on has Cueto near 200 and seems a risky jump IMO.

I don't think the back and forth game or the big innings jumps should happen before age 23 and ideally age 25.

Cueto pitched winterball last year too, so he was actually over 138 innings last year too. I don't recall the exact number of innings, but 21 seems to jump to mind awful quick....

M2
11-30-2007, 12:23 AM
Generally I dont like that for starting pitching prospects for two reasons.

That's how the Orioles brought 'em along exactly that way for a long time. Doyle Alexander, Mike Garland, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Dennis Martinez, Mike Boddicker and Storm Davis all started off in the majors in the pen. Earl Weaver used to ease them into the rotation. It worked.

dougdirt
11-30-2007, 01:41 AM
That's how the Orioles brought 'em along exactly that way for a long time. Doyle Alexander, Mike Garland, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Dennis Martinez, Mike Boddicker and Storm Davis all started off in the majors in the pen. Earl Weaver used to ease them into the rotation. It worked.

Maybe it worked because they were all good pitchers? Not saying Cueto isnt, but I don't think them coming from the pen had anything to do with their success.

Ron Madden
11-30-2007, 02:49 AM
I am going to be extremely PO'd if Cueto comes up with an injury this season. He needs to be shut down NOW.

I'm in full agreement with you OBM.

There's not only a chance for injury but Cueto will be worn out and running on fumes by the second week of June if they don't shut him down soon.

lollipopcurve
11-30-2007, 10:20 AM
For me, using Cueto in the pen to start has more to do with keeping the innings load down in 08. He's carried a heavy load here in 07. (I'm starting to wonder if he's being showcased for trade....)

Of course, if he is in the pen, they should be real careful about how often they get him up.

M2
11-30-2007, 10:59 AM
Maybe it worked because they were all good pitchers? Not saying Cueto isnt, but I don't think them coming from the pen had anything to do with their success.

Maybe, but the Orioles of that era were run by some of the brightest minds ever to get involved in the game. They did it deliberately, making no secret of their conviction that young starters need a transition period. It worked quite well. IMO, there's something to be learned there, especially given the lack of success in the game when it comes to bringing along young arms.

dougdirt
11-30-2007, 11:08 AM
Maybe, but the Orioles of that era were run by some of the brightest minds ever to get involved in the game. They did it deliberately, making no secret of their conviction that young starters need a transition period. It worked quite well. IMO, there's something to be learned there, especially given the lack of success in the game when it comes to bringing along young arms.

I think it might work better for certain types of pitchers.... Johnny Cueto just doesn't seem to be that type. Chad Billingsley for example seemed to benefit greatly from a move to the bullpen before coming back to the rotation.

M2
11-30-2007, 11:23 AM
I think it might work better for certain types of pitchers.... Johnny Cueto just doesn't seem to be that type. Chad Billingsley for example seemed to benefit greatly from a move to the bullpen before coming back to the rotation.

Why would Cueto be different?

dougdirt
11-30-2007, 12:01 PM
Why would Cueto be different?

Just my thinking here, so take that for what its worth obviously. The bullpen thing seems to work for guys with control problems get more equipped to handle major league hitters. Even guys with just 2 pitches (think Joba Chamberlain for the most part).

Cueto on the other hand is not a pinpoint control guy, but he controls his stuff within the strikezone and has control of all of his pitches already.

I don't think Cueto would have as rough of a transition to the major leagues given that he has the stuff and already has the control part of his game down.

M2
11-30-2007, 12:26 PM
Cueto on the other hand is not a pinpoint control guy, but he controls his stuff within the strikezone and has control of all of his pitches already.

I'm guessing "not" is a typo in that sentence.

It's a fair argument that Cueto's control is so evil he may not need to transition. He could certainly be cut from the Yovanni Gallardo mold in that respect. My counter would be that:

A) I don't really want to see him in the majors until August or so (as I think there's a benefit to pitching a full season at an advanced level in the minors). So hopefully the team has a settled rotation by that point in the season.

B) It would give him a chance to test his stuff against MLB hitters in small doses. That way he can makes some adjustments and build confidence without having to go through 80-100 pitches in his first forays into the league.

C) Given his frame, I'd like to let him mature a bit more before I placed to yoke of a rotation slot on his shoulders, especially later in the season.

My general take is, while a BP stint might be unnecessary for Cueto, it probably won't do him any harm. Of course, if the Reds have a critical need for a starter and Cueto's the top dog in AAA, then he'll be getting the call.

dougdirt
11-30-2007, 12:33 PM
I'm guessing "not" is a typo in that sentence.
No, its not. From what I hear is that Cueto is a guy who gets the ball into the strikezone, but isn't a guy who will hit the exact target that he wants.



It's a fair argument that Cueto's control is so evil he may not need to transition. He could certainly be cut from the Yovanni Gallardo mold in that respect. My counter would be that:

A) I don't really want to see him in the majors until August or so
(as I think there's a benefit to pitching a full season at an advanced level in the minors). So hopefully the team has a settled rotation by that point in the season.

B) It would give him a chance to test his stuff against MLB hitters in small doses. That way he can makes some adjustments and build confidence without having to go through 80-100 pitches in his first forays into the league.

C) Given his frame, I'd like to let him mature a bit more before I placed to yoke of a rotation slot on his shoulders, especially later in the season.

My general take is, while a BP stint might be unnecessary for Cueto, it probably won't do him any harm. Of course, if the Reds have a critical need for a starter and Cueto's the top dog in AAA, then he'll be getting the call.

I think a bullpen stint wouldn't harm him if it came at the end of the season, but I am not a fan of jerking yonug pitchers from the bullpen to the rotation due to the way your arm and preperation differs between the two things.

M2
11-30-2007, 01:17 PM
No, its not. From what I hear is that Cueto is a guy who gets the ball into the strikezone, but isn't a guy who will hit the exact target that he wants.

My apologies for misreading you there.

I've read that comment by BA too. Still doesn't make a lick of sense to me as the natural outcropping of lack of command in the strikezone would be that he'd be hittable and have a hard time punching out hitters. Neither is the case.

Certainly, lack of pinpoint control hasn't been on on-field problem for him at any in which he's played (as opposed to Ricardo Aramboles who had that command problem follow him everywhere he pitched). My take is that perception might be skewed by Cueto having an unpredictable pitching pattern. Supposedly he's a pretty heady pitcher. Guys like that often put a pitch where you didn't expect it, which might seem like an accident to someone, even a scout, in the stands - causing the "He got away with that one" reaction.

IIRC, Greg Maddux got accused of similar things back in his early years. It took a while for people to realize that, no, that's exactly where he wants it.

Though if Cueto does have command issues that need fixing, I'd think that would argue for a bullpen transition period where he can hone that ability in smaller chunks. Starting would allow him to make 5x as many mistakes in a given outing.

dougdirt
11-30-2007, 01:21 PM
Though if Cueto does have command issues that need fixing, I'd think that would argue for a bullpen transition period where he can hone that ability in smaller chunks. Starting would allow him to make 5x as many mistakes in a given outing.

Likewise, it would also give him 5 times as many reps to hone that skill.

RedsManRick
11-30-2007, 01:27 PM
B) It would give him a chance to test his stuff against MLB hitters in small doses. That way he can makes some adjustments and build confidence without having to go through 80-100 pitches in his first forays into the league.

My guess is that this is the most beneficial thing to the bullpen rotation.

As a starter, you can have 4 good innings, get beat up a bit in the 5th, and at the end of the day feel like you failed.

If those innings come one at a time, it's easier to recognize the successes and deal with the failure. Let him get comfortable trusting his stuff against major leaguers and keep his innings down for one more year while he's young and still filling out.

M2
11-30-2007, 02:05 PM
Likewise, it would also give him 5 times as many reps to hone that skill.

The difference is in the pen, you can quickly assess the problem and then get back out on the field in the next day or three and put it to the test. It's more targeted learning.

As a starter, if you're having a problem like that, you get beaten silly and then you have to wait five days to see how well you've corrected the problem. And if you haven't quite fixed it yet, then you get another beating and you've got to wait five more days.

Of course that gets to the heart of one of my bugaboos about starting pitcher callups. If the kid has to do that kind of basic work (e.g. learning to put a pitch where it needs to be), then he's got no business starting games in the majors. Every problem gets magnified when you're a starter. You can't hide. Sooner or later, whatever it is you're doing wrong will catch up to you.

I allow more leeway in the bullpen because the manager can yank that kid on a moment's notice if he doesn't like what he sees. It's certainly a good place to do your initial tinkering, to get a feel for what works against MLB hitters so that you don't get thrust into that punish-and-wait cycle. Even a dozen bullpen outings can tighten up a young pitcher's offerings so that when he takes the mound for a start he's better equipped for it.

mth123
11-30-2007, 09:23 PM
That's how the Orioles brought 'em along exactly that way for a long time. Doyle Alexander, Mike Garland, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Dennis Martinez, Mike Boddicker and Storm Davis all started off in the majors in the pen. Earl Weaver used to ease them into the rotation. It worked.

Not when they are so young and haven't completed a season with a starters workload. They tried it with Jim Palmer too and the lesson that I see was that he spent his age 19 season as a spot starter/long man getting 6 starts in 27 appearances and throwing 92 innings. The next year he went into the rotation, made 30 starts and threw 208 Innings. The following 2 years were basically lost seasons due to arm shoulder and back problems with 9 starts and 49 innings in the first one and the rest of the time not on the roster, or throwing a few innings in the minors. The following season consisted of 37 minor league innings. Palmer and the Orioles were lucky he was able to come back and if that had happened in this era, he would have spent those 2 years on the major league DL accruing service time toward free agency. The Orioles would have gotten a couple of good seasons out of him and then he would have been gone.

Storm Davis threw 187 innings in 1981 in the minors and had already worked himself up to a starters load before the bullpen stint in the big leagues. Dennis Martinez threw 207 innings the season prior to it being tried with him. Scott McGregor had thrown 176 and was age 23. Wayne Garland had thrown 180 and was 23. Mike Flanagan was 24 before it was tried on him. Mike Boddicker was basically a starter from the get go except for a couple of cups of coffee.

I actually think its a good idea to break a kid in by a stint in the pen but I don't generally like it when the kid is less than age 23 (or more conservativley 25) or hasn't worked his way up to a starters load in the minors prior to the transition. What happend and was narrowly missed with Palmer is too much risk these days. In Cueto's case his Winter Ball stint has actually put him at about 200 innings this year and if it doesn't kill him, it may make it an ok gamble. I would not try a bullpen stint with Bailey this season or even next. He needs to work his innings back up to a starter's load first.

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
11-30-2007, 09:31 PM
Likewise, it would also give him 5 times as many reps to hone that skill.
That it would, also a guy with "command issues" could spell nothing but Rick White type explosions in the Reds bullpen. Starting allows a pitcher to get settled in, and get into a groove. If this guy truely does have some command issues, comming into the game with a couple guys on base, needing to throw strikes to save a ball game is not going to help him or this club get to where they need to be.

zjr1717
12-01-2007, 03:05 AM
On the one hand, you have to love that he just keeps pitching so well. But on the other hand, putting those inning on him can't be good.

M2
12-03-2007, 12:04 PM
I actually think its a good idea to break a kid in by a stint in the pen but I don't generally like it when the kid is less than age 23 (or more conservativley 25) or hasn't worked his way up to a starters load in the minors prior to the transition. What happend and was narrowly missed with Palmer is too much risk these days. In Cueto's case his Winter Ball stint has actually put him at about 200 innings this year and if it doesn't kill him, it may make it an ok gamble. I would not try a bullpen stint with Bailey this season or even next. He needs to work his innings back up to a starter's load first.

Very good point, first you need a pitcher to build himself up as a starter through the minors before you need to think about how to transition him in the majors. I'm with on Bailey's lack of innings being a major concern.