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View Full Version : Brad Evans brings the buzz kill to Cuetos early success



Joseph
04-10-2008, 04:47 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/mlb/news;_ylt=AvIaZC53QL.KnRkfFXlxwDxNC5kB?slug=be-noise041008

It's a contraption composed of mahogany, bronze and brushed nickel. It's fueled by Homer Bailey scouting reports, memorable Mark Prior performances, Todd Van Poppel magazine covers, Brien Taylor Topps Stadium Club rookie cards and Hideki Irabu cellulite. And its functions are to manufacture uninhibited excitement and foster unrealistic expectations.

The name of this influential instrument: the hype machine.

In less than two months, this seducing apparatus has transformed owner perceptions of Cincinnati's favorite son, Johnny Cueto, from intriguing top prospect to future Cooperstown inductee. From Sportscenter highlight reels to Baseball Weekly covers to our own hyperbolic endorsements, the buzz surrounding the Baby Bull is omnipresent.

Why wouldn't it be?

In two starts, Cueto, who has officially surpassed the once TE-eligible Marques Colston as the most controversial commodity in Yahoo! Sports fantasy history, has dominated opponents. Against rather potent lineups, Arizona and Milwaukee, he yielded just two earned runs on six hits and, most impressively, walked none in 13.1 dynamite innings. More intoxicating, his spectacular arsenal mid-90s fastball, hard-biting slider and plus change has completely embarrassed hitters to the tune of 12.15 strikeouts per nine.

But, despite his two infatuating performances, the current king of the Queen City is a strong sell high candidate.

Why?

The historical baseball record is loaded with similar stories of ultra-hyped prospects that thrived initially, but eventually collapsed under the weight of inflated expectations. Some prime examples:


Former 1989 No. 1 overall pick Ben McDonald tossed a complete game shutout in his first major league start on July 21, 1990. Although he finished that season with a sparkling 2.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 65 Ks in 118.2 IP, his career ERA in nine seasons was 3.91.

In his highly anticipated MLB debut in 2007, Daisuke Matsuzaka baffled the Kansas City Royals, allowing one earned run while striking out 10 in 7.0 IP. Dice-K was a stellar mid-rotation starter last season in 12-team leagues because of his 15 wins and 201 Ks, but many were disappointed by his end-season 4.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.

Brandon Funston's fantasy fetish, Tim Lincecum, whiffed 10 Houston Astros in his third career start on May 17, 2007. The diminutive flamethrower was untouchable at times, but his sometimes erratic control (4.00 BB/9 in '07) proved costly in several outings. In five of his 24 starts he surrendered five or more earned runs, finishing with a respectable, yet unspectacular, 4.00 ERA.
Yes, the Dominican dandy's early season ascendancy has been nothing short of magnificent, but the anticipation of his Y! availability coupled with the media's outlandish comparisons of Cueto to Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez, have misleadingly skyrocketed his value to tier one/two levels.

Sure, he's the ideal combination of Greg Maddux polish and old Pedro power. And, yes, the sweat from his brow could rid the world of disease. But there are numerous negatives working against him. For starters, he's still very green. The 22-year-old has pitched only 35.1 innings above Double-A. Second, the Great American Bandbox is very unfriendly for pitchers. If his flyball percentage remains above 45.0 it's currently 50.0 longballs could become problematic. Third, this is the first time many big leaguers have seen his stuff. As Dice-K proved last year, unseasoned pitchers are not nearly as effective the second time around. Finally, notorious arm destroyer Dusty Baker is his manager. Under Baker's guidance, it's certainly possible Cueto's arm could be amputated by midseason. Although, to be fair, Dusty has yet to allow his cherished hurler to surpass 100 pitches in a start.

Without question, Cueto will be a terrific No.3 in 12-team mixed leagues. But it's absurd to think that come September he'll be more valuable than Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Zimmerman or Billy Butler all of whom he was recently dealt straight up for in solo Y! Plus league trades.

Seriously, it's time to go "Office Space" on the Cueto hype machine.

Expect the much ballyhooed youngster to finish with a line around, 4.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 175 Ks and 11 wins.

backbencher
04-10-2008, 04:53 PM
So this guy's saying that Cueto is more likely to be an average-to-above-average #3 this year, as a 22-year-old-rookie, than the best parts of Maddux and Pedro rolled up into one? Um, okay. I'll take five, please.

guttle11
04-10-2008, 04:54 PM
Expect the much ballyhooed youngster to finish with a line around, 4.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 175 Ks and 11 wins.

Sounds great to me.

Matt700wlw
04-10-2008, 04:55 PM
Sounds great to me.

Yeah, he makes it seem like a bad thing.

redsmetz
04-10-2008, 04:56 PM
So this guy's saying that Cueto is more likely to be an average-to-above-average #3 this year, as a 22-year-old-rookie, than the best parts of Maddux and Pedro rolled up into one? Um, okay. I'll take five, please.

The guy is playing in hyperbole. I don't think anyone has seriously believed that Johnny Cueto is fast on the path to the Hall of Fame. Of course, one never knows a HOF career until much time has past and history is replete with flashes in the pan.

That said, I'm liking what I've seen thus far and I'm hoping we have a decent pitcher for the long term. Not many end of Hall of Famers and there are quite a lot of very good pitchers who didn't have HOF careers. We haven't even sniffed anything good for so long out of our farm system. I'll take five along with you.

PuffyPig
04-10-2008, 04:59 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/mlb/news;_ylt=AvIaZC53QL.KnRkfFXlxwDxNC5kB?slug=be-noise041008


Expect the much ballyhooed youngster to finish with a line around, 4.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 175 Ks and 11 wins.

As a rookie, that would be excellent.

Sort of a Aaron Harang lite.

It would, in 2007, put him 20th in ERA and 10th in K's. (Note 178 K's would put him 7th).

It would be similiar to what Snell and Zambrano did last year.

Yet, this writer is saying, essentially, that Cueto is over rated and only exepct him to be as good as the Snell's and the Zambrano's were in 2007.

It would appear that even this writer is swallowing the hype as well.

medford
04-10-2008, 05:01 PM
I for one wouldn't be too dissapointed w/ that ending line for JC. Sure he's more than likely going to come back down to earth at some point, but what this writer fails to mention is that every once in a while, a Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemons, Pedro Martinez type pitcher is brought before us with exceptional talent capable of shinning for several seasons dominating the league.

Maybe, just maybe Cueto is that guy; lets look at his faults they auther gives us.
1) He's green. Yes, but does that mean he's going to fail or he'll continue to improve as hes shown the willingness to soak in the wisdom of guys like Mario Soto.

2) He plays in Great American. OK a lot of homeruns have been hit there. Personally I think that's a crutch too many writers use for the number of homeruns given up there in a moment of laziness. How many great pitchers has Cincy had on the bump during its tenure? How many swing for the fences prolific home run hitter have the Reds had during the same span? Few to the first, many to the second. I don't see GAPB significantly better/worse than many other parks around the NL, Houston, Milwaukee, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, the balls all fly out of those places. Sure its not Petco or SafeCo, but how many parks are?

3) he's giving up 50% flyballs. But if he strikes 'em out at 12.15/9 that 50% isn't too many any more. besides, Harangatang has shown that you can give up a home run or 2 and remain successful in this ball park.

meanwhile, I'm living the dream. JC for Cy Young! :)

edabbs44
04-10-2008, 05:01 PM
This is a fantasy league article...it is written for people who might not follow the game as closely as some do.

I saw a fantasy baseball chat the other day where people were asking the "expert" such questions as "Should I drop Sabathia for Cueto?" That is a lot of the intended audience, I would imagine.

Aronchis
04-10-2008, 05:06 PM
I didn't think Cueto looked nearly as good against the Brewers as the Diamondbacks.

What kept him from getting smacked was unfamiliarity and that is the key for now. Johnny has little room for error but he does throw very clean games.

If he can do the 6I QS thing consistantly enough, nobody will care if he is overhyped. I would say the same for Bailey down the road.

We have Harang,Arroyo and Volquez to do the inning eating dirty work.

Matt700wlw
04-10-2008, 05:08 PM
I didn't think Cueto looked nearly as good against the Brewers as the Diamondbacks.

What kept him from getting smacked was unfamiliarity and that is the key for now.

Gotcha. Had nothing to do with his stuff. Not at all.

MartyFan
04-10-2008, 05:08 PM
So this guy's saying that Cueto is more likely to be an average-to-above-average #3 this year, as a 22-year-old-rookie, than the best parts of Maddux and Pedro rolled up into one? Um, okay. I'll take five, please.

WORD! :cool:

RBA
04-10-2008, 05:09 PM
wrong forum for fantasy league.

PuffyPig
04-10-2008, 05:14 PM
I didn't think Cueto looked nearly as good against the Brewers as the Diamondbacks.

What kept him from getting smacked was unfamiliarity and that is the key for now. Johnny has little room for error but he does throw very clean games.



I assume you are being sarcastic.

You have to be.

8 K's and no walks is more than unfamiliarity.

REDREAD
04-10-2008, 05:19 PM
This is a fantasy league article...it is written for people who might not follow the game as closely as some do.

I saw a fantasy baseball chat the other day where people were asking the "expert" such questions as "Should I drop Sabathia for Cueto?" That is a lot of the intended audience, I would imagine.

I like what I see from Cueto so far, but if I had him on my fantasy team now, I'd be shopping him, only because it's highly likely he'd get a return that was worth several times his actual value. I think that's what the author is saying.

VR
04-10-2008, 05:26 PM
As with anyone in the majors...the key will be how Cueto adjusts to the league after the league adjusts to him.

In the mean time, let's enjoy. :thumbup:

lollipopcurve
04-10-2008, 05:30 PM
Finally, notorious arm destroyer Dusty Baker is his manager. Under Baker's guidance, it's certainly possible Cueto's arm could be amputated by midseason.

If you say so.

OnBaseMachine
04-10-2008, 05:30 PM
I didn't think Cueto looked nearly as good against the Brewers as the Diamondbacks.

What kept him from getting smacked was unfamiliarity and that is the key for now. Johnny has little room for error but he does throw very clean games.


You must not have watched the same Johnny Cueto that the rest of us did.

M2
04-10-2008, 05:50 PM
If you had a rotation of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Lincecum and Ben McDonald (in one of his average seasons), your team would stand to win a lot of games.

Reds1
04-10-2008, 06:01 PM
Tell me - how cool is it to have these type of articles about a pitcher that is actually with the Reds! Woo hoo.

I'm hoping for a Cole Hamels type pitcher.

NJReds
04-10-2008, 06:08 PM
I understand Cueto not being the Pedro/Maddux rolled into one, but why do all these fantasy geeks assume Billy Butler is the next Tony Gwynn/Todd Helton? Don't good rookie hitters fade as well?

Matt700wlw
04-10-2008, 06:09 PM
Tell me - how cool is it to have these type of articles about a pitcher that is actually with the Reds! Woo hoo.

I'm hoping for a Cole Hamels type pitcher.

That's what I was hoping (still hoping?) out of Bailey...except for the left handed part...

Patrick Bateman
04-10-2008, 06:13 PM
If you had a rotation of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Lincecum and Ben McDonald (in one of his average seasons), your team would stand to win a lot of games.

Funny thing about Daisuke. I think he went from being the most overrated pitcer to the most underrated pitcher in the span of 1 season.

Everyone thought he was going to come over and win a Cy Young off the bat, he didn't, instead he was just a quality top of the rotation pitcher. Since he didn't do that everyone stopped caring about him and he became a forgotten man. Based on the early season, things are looking very good for Daisuke.

RedsManRick
04-10-2008, 06:51 PM
The good thing about Cueto, is that he's got the kind of stuff that works even if you know it's coming. He doesn't have to fool people to get them out. A 96 mph fastball, with tail, on the low-outside corner is hard to hit, period. Yes, guys will adjust to him and he will need to adjust in return so that people can't sit on a given pitch. But if he maintains his command and his confidence in throwing any pitch at any time, he's going to be successful for a real long time.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is an interesting comp. What we've seen from him is not a problem of adjusting, so much as his occasional loss of command. When he can't locate his breaking stuff, hitters sit dead red on his fastball and take walks and line drives. Command is key for Matsuzaka because the stuff is there and hard to hit.

SMcGavin
04-10-2008, 07:02 PM
Yet, this writer is saying, essentially, that Cueto is over rated and only exepct him to be as good as the Snell's and the Zambrano's were in 2007.

Yeah. When the negative articles about the kid are saying he's "only" going to be above average at age 22, you know we've got a keeper.

BCubb2003
04-10-2008, 07:02 PM
Past performance is not an indicator of future results?

RedlegJake
04-10-2008, 07:17 PM
A couple of things:

If your pitchers give up solo homers it doesn't hurt too much. That's how you pitch in GAB, don't walk guys on and keep the bases empty most of the time. That's just throwing strikes, with the stuff to miss bats and both are things Wayne has emphasized. Homers will happen in GAB - so what.

Cueto. The reason I think he's real is not only does he have 3 plus pitches, he's willing to use any of them, anytime, in any count. This is not the kid who always goes to his fastball when he's in a pinch because he can't rely on his other stuff, or that hitters can learn to lay off one pitch and wait for another.

Harang, Arroyo, Cordero and Soto. How do most guys really learn? A coach they trust and top pitchers who teach by example and by taking them under their wing. They have it all in Harang the ace whose most important lesson is "strike one". Soto, the retired ace who can teach a changeup as well as any coach around. Cordero, the friend to show them the ropes, and Arroyo the crafty pitcher who lives by guile. Harang and Arroyo aren't afraid of GAB. Cueto and Volquez won't be either.

Caveat Emperor
04-10-2008, 08:10 PM
A 96 mph fastball, with tail, on the low-outside corner is hard to hit, period.

Yup.

There's not a lot of adjustments you can make to hit that pitch. As long as Cueto continues to display command at high-velocity, the ball is truly in his court.

He'll have times where he loses that command, and he'll get hit -- but if the command he's shown thus far is no fluke, the league will have a very hard time adjusting to him.

Spitball
04-10-2008, 08:48 PM
What kept him from getting smacked was unfamiliarity and that is the key for now.

That's funny. How come there have been so very few in the history of baseball that have similarly capitalized on this "unfamiliarity" factor with such a degree of success???

I expect the league to make adjustments as it does with all young pitchers. The difference is Cueto has established a very impressive baseline from which these adjustments must build.

PuffyPig
04-10-2008, 09:38 PM
Need another reason to think Cueto is special?

Major league record for most K's at the beginning of their career without a walk?

18 and counting.

Spitball
04-10-2008, 10:33 PM
Need another reason to think Cueto is special?

Major league record for most K's at the beginning of their career without a walk?

18 and counting.

And umpires are typically unwilling to give young pitchers the benefit of the "Tom Glavine" zone until they have establised themselves.

fearofpopvol1
04-10-2008, 10:58 PM
What's really dumb about this article is that all the comps (outside of McDonald) are still very young in their major league careers. It's way too early to speak definitively. Those pitchers could all finish with amazing careers.


Former 1989 No. 1 overall pick Ben McDonald tossed a complete game shutout in his first major league start on July 21, 1990. Although he finished that season with a sparkling 2.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 65 Ks in 118.2 IP, his career ERA in nine seasons was 3.91.

Also, if Cueto finished his career with a 3.91 ERA (as the writer suggested), I think Reds fans would be very happy.

Stormy
04-10-2008, 11:54 PM
I assume you are being sarcastic.

You have to be.

8 K's and no walks is more than unfamiliarity.

Yea, opposing hitters tend to be "unfamiliar" with pinpoint precision, late action 94+mph heat, complemented by a plus pitch 86-89mph slider and change combo. Definitely a case of "unfamiliarity" ;)

princeton
04-11-2008, 08:25 AM
Yea, opposing hitters tend to be "unfamiliar" with pinpoint precision, late action 94+mph heat, complemented by a plus pitch 86-89mph slider and change combo. Definitely a case of "unfamiliarity" ;)

good stuff coming out of a Cincy uniform probably freaks 'em out.

RFS62
04-11-2008, 08:30 AM
Yea, opposing hitters tend to be "unfamiliar" with pinpoint precision, late action 94+mph heat, complemented by a plus pitch 86-89mph slider and change combo. Definitely a case of "unfamiliarity" ;)


good stuff coming out of a Cincy uniform probably freaks 'em out.




Well, I'm completely unfamiliar with it, and it's definitely freaking me out.

:beerme: