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Thread: Is Cueto really an ace?

  1. #1
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Is Cueto really an ace?

    I'm as happy as the next guy to see Cueto starting on Opening Day. It's a great testament to, among other things, the organization's ability to develop its own pitching talent. That said, I am skeptical of the growing number of stories, most of them in the "mainstream" baseball media, that tout Cueto as an ace (see this Reds.com story from Mark Sheldon as a most recent example). An excerpt:

    CINCINNATI -- Johnny Cueto has ascended to a role in the Reds' rotation many hoped he would eventually assume five seasons ago when he was just a 22-year-old kid debuting in the Majors.

    Cueto, now 26, is Cincinnati's undisputed No. 1 starter. Of course, that means he has the honor of taking the mound on Opening Day vs. the Marlins on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.
    Now, I know that part of this just has to do with the need for Sheldon to "skim the surface" of the real narrative -- and I certainly hope that he knows that Cueto has neither the track record nor the peripherals to suggest he is truly a dominant pitcher. Most projections have him regressing a bit this year, even if there is a growing recognition that his ability to induce ground balls may indeed be a sustainable skill, in some sense replacing the need to "miss bats" that most saber-inclined minds seek in order to identify a true "ace."

    My question is this: at what point do you think Cueto can be universally acknowledged as an ace?

    If anything, I think Latos is probably the SP more worthy of that distinction on the staff at this point, but I'm very curious as to what RedZoners think about Cueto's status and when he could approach the level that writers like Sheldon already seems ready to give him after just one partial season of an elite ERA.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    I think that Latos and Cueto have "ace" kind of stuff, but for me, to truly wear the title of "Ace" a pitcher must perform exceptionally, consistently, and have the ability and mentality to almost single handedly snap a losing streak and perform exceptionally in big games against great teams and players.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
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    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    "Mainstream" baseball media isn't exactly accepting, or even digging into BABIP and FIP at this point. Cueto looks like an ace by traditional measures, so it's not too surprising that he's getting that recognition.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    I think often there is a need to pigeonhole players in certain named roles. And yet, how often does a club have a flat out, no doubt "ace"?

    I often think back to the Big Red Machine. They were not known for their pitching, particularly not any one standout, although some got more accolades than others. And I'd love to see what a discussion about that staff would have looked like if there had been a 1970's version of RZ. There were some good pitchers on those clubs and they got the job done, with Sparky pulling the levers in such a new way.

    I think this staff has the chance to exceed what the BRM clubs pitchers did. Whether one or another of them is termed an "ace," I'm not worried about much. I want them to get the job done and help us win a lot of games.
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Cincy historically gives the first game start to the pitcher who pitched the best the year before.

    Cueto gets the honour for that reason.

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    Member 757690's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Cueto's never had enough wins in a season to be an Ace
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    I went in to my take on Cueto in the Chapman thread (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showt...=94232&page=21), but the short version is: No, not even close. Cueto is a solid, middle-of-the-rotation starter who has a great story and is coming off a year in which he was both good and extremely fortunate.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  9. #8
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    He needs a K/9 over 7 to even approach "ace" status.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  10. #9
    On the brink wolfboy's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    He needs a K/9 over 7 to even approach "ace" status.
    I don't know if I agree. Certainly, someone with a K/9 over 7 is much more likely to be an ace than someone below that threshold, but guys like Steve Carlton, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer and Don Sutton all reached the Hall of Fame, and arguably "ace" status, while rarely having a K/9 over 7. More recently, Tom Glavine is a pitcher that wasn't close to a K/9 of over 7 for his career, but still was an arguable ace for much of it.

    I'd also add that I don't think Cueto is an "ace."
    How do we know he's not Mel Torme?

  11. #10
    On the brink wolfboy's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    One other point - I think part of the equation, as others have mentioned, is sustained success. The problem with Cueto is that there are a lot of indicators that suggest he won't sustain the success he attained last year because it was highly attributable to luck.
    How do we know he's not Mel Torme?

  12. #11
    Worst Behavior. reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    You'll be able to answer this after this year.
    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    Let's face it, you mis-hit the bun with the mustard squirter, no one will really care.

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    Member Captain Hook's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by reds44 View Post
    You'll be able to answer this after this year.
    End of the yea?How Cueto does tomorrow is all that it will take.

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Needs 200 inning season. But he's a perfect 2 or 3 for a small park.
    Last edited by Rojo; 04-04-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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  15. #14
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    I think often there is a need to pigeonhole players in certain named roles. And yet, how often does a club have a flat out, no doubt "ace"?
    Obviously there are limits to any conceptual category -- and I'm not arguing that the word "ace" is an ironclad term by any means. What does interest me, though, is the extent to which sports writing tends to skew terms for the sake of a good story. The idea of an ace, IMO, loses substantial meaning when we start throwing it around whenever a pitcher has a few good games in a row. To me, that's what Cueto is right now -- a good story, to be sure, but not yet at the level to where we need to be throwing around superlatives. He's what we want the Reds farm system to produce, of course. He's even fulfilled a large part of his promise. But to me, an "ace" should be a clear-cut member of the top tier of pitchers in baseball -- and he's not there yet, certainly not statistically and probably not even anecdotally.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

  16. #15
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Another thought:

    Latos, in some ways, is the opposite of Cueto at this point and time. He's got, by many accounts, the statistics to back up a claim as ace. He does not, however, have the "story" for whatever reason. Part of that has to do, probably, with the stubbornness of the W category in coverage of baseball. No "ace" should have 14 losses, after all! It is interesting, though, that players like Lincecum and Felix have won the Cy Young in recent years despite bad W-L records. To me, that signals some sort of shift in the mainstream terminology. I think that's a good thing -- and I hope that at some point the grand narratives of sportswriting will reflect a deeper, analytical appreciation of the importance of individual player performance.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013


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