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Thread: Is Cueto really an ace?

  1. #151
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    But, let's be real -- when you really boil down the advanced metrics, the only way to be a praiseworthy arm is to strike lots of people out and limit walks.
    The ideal pitcher is someone with outstanding make 'em miss ability, exceptional control and extreme groundball tendencies.... that's a scout's definition BTW.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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  3. #152
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I would think its a certainty that he'll finish with an era below 3.5. If he posts an era of 3.5 for his next 150 IP, he'd have an era over 200 innings of about 2.90. So he'd have to have a finish to the season that would be worse than even his greatest skeptics would find predictable to end up with an era of 3.5 or worse (like an era of 4.50 over 150 IP and thats only happening if he's hurt). He's not really dominating though thru his first 50 innings unless you focus on ERA. For instance, he allows more contact than league average. Again, no one is saying he sucks and sabermetrics isn't arguing he's a backend arm. But it's not unreasonable at all to expect him to have An era of 3.50ish over his next 150 innings.

    And you know what? That would be a great thing worthy of praise.
    But why keep on beating the drum that "Cueto really isn't THAT good" by reminding us that "well he can't sustain X, he can't sustain Y..."? I don't think anyone is deceived into thinking any pitcher is sustaining barely a run per 9, whatever the reasons are that he won't. But he's starting to look like he can sustain being a top 10-15 in the league starter. Trying to explain away the success as unsustainable is starting to ring hollow.
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    But, let's be real -- when you really boil down the advanced metrics, the only way to be a praiseworthy arm is to strike lots of people out and limit walks.
    But it's not like sabermetrics says stuff based of personal opinion, rooting interests or aesthetics. It does so because it's what the numbers actually say.

    When you really look at the pitchers who sustain very low ERAs over multiple years, the only way to do it is to strike lots of people out and limit walks -- or do something very extreme regarding inducing weak contact. So far, Cueto's gone the weak contact route, but unlike Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and RA Dickey, it's not exactly clear what he's doing that produces his low BABIP.

    Let's look at the qualified pitchers over the last 3 years with the lowest ERA. I was going to take the top 20, but a certain Red was #21, so I included him here.

    Code:
    Rank	Name		IP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	BABIP	GB%	HR/FB	ERA	FIP	ERA-FIP
    1	Roy Halladay	772	8.0	1.3	0.66	.296	51%	 8.6%	2.57	2.75	-0.18
    2	Clayton Kershaw	652	9.4	3.2	0.55	.267	42%	 6.1%	2.64	2.89	-0.25
    3	Felix Hernandez	774	8.4	2.6	0.62	.280	52%	 8.2%	2.67	3.05	-0.38
    4	Adam Wainwright	497	8.3	2.3	0.71	.288	51%	 9.3%	2.73	3.08	-0.35
    5	Josh Johnson	491	8.5	2.6	0.44	.297	49%	 5.6%	2.89	2.75	 0.14
    6	Cliff Lee	705	8.0	1.4	0.68	.296	44%	 7.3%	2.90	2.76	 0.14
    7	Jered Weaver	721	8.1	2.3	0.89	.264	33%	 7.2%	2.93	3.33	-0.40
    8	Matt Cain	708	7.2	2.6	0.74	.254	39%	 6.7%	2.94	3.45	-0.51
    9	Chris Carpenter	665	7.0	2.1	0.60	.288	51%	 7.4%	3.02	3.20	-0.18
    10	Johan Santana	396	7.4	2.6	0.84	.276	35%	 6.9%	3.02	3.55	-0.53
    11	Justin Verlande 766	9.2	2.4	0.70	.278	39%	 7.1%	3.03	2.88	 0.15
    12	Tim Lincecum	691	9.8	3.2	0.59	.295	48%	 7.8%	3.03	2.89	 0.14
    13	Madison Bumgard	360	7.6	2.1	0.70	.309	47%	 7.5%	3.05	3.14	-0.09
    14	C.J. Wilson	468	8.0	3.5	0.56	.273	49%	 6.9%	3.09	3.38	-0.29
    15	Tim Hudson	504	6.1	2.6	0.70	.269	61%	11.2%	3.12	3.74	-0.62
    16	R.A. Dickey	424	5.8	2.4	0.83	.274	53%	 9.6%	3.18	3.84	-0.66
    17	Jaime Garcia	396	7.0	2.9	0.57	.309	55%	 7.6%	3.22	3.29	-0.07
    18	CC Sabathia	748	8.0	2.5	0.72	.291	47%	 8.3%	3.24	3.26	-0.02
    19	Wandy Rodriguez	638	8.0	3.0	0.92	.293	46%	10.3%	3.27	3.70	-0.43
    20	Cole Hamels	655	8.5	2.1	0.97	.288	46%	10.7%	3.29	3.38	-0.09
    21	Johnny Cueto	561	6.5	2.8	0.85	.276	45%	 8.6%	3.29	3.97	-0.68
    
    Average 1-5		637	8.5	2.4	0.60	0.286	49%	7.6%	2.70	2.90	-0.20
    Average 1-10		638	8.0	2.3	0.67	0.281	45%	7.3%	2.83	3.08	-0.25
    Average 1-20		602	7.9	2.5	0.70	0.284	47%	8.0%	2.99	3.22	-0.22
    Can you be a really good pitcher without striking a lot of guys out? Yes. Can you be a really good pitcher while walking guys? Yes. Can you be among the very best without doing both very well -- well, it depends on where you want to draw that line. And if you even want to be in the conversation, you better do something extreme with batted balls.

    Can you call Cueto an ace? Sure. He's pretty clearly been one of the 30 best pitchers in baseball the last few years. Just make sure you're prepared to call Tim Hudson, Wandy Rodriguez and Jaime Garcia aces as well. And realize that Cueto has the biggest difference between FIP and ERA on this list. If he's going to sustain an ERA lower than the 3.29 of his last 3 years, he's either going to become even more of a FIP outlier or he's going to improve his peripherals because he's getting as much help from his batted balls and defense as he's going to get just to sustain his current ERA average.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 05-10-2012 at 10:07 PM.
    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.

  5. #154
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    But why keep on beating the drum that "Cueto really isn't THAT good" by reminding us that "well he can't sustain X, he can't sustain Y..."? I don't think anyone is deceived into thinking any pitcher is sustaining barely a run per 9, whatever the reasons are that he won't. But he's starting to look like he can sustain being a top 10-15 in the league starter. Trying to explain away the success as unsustainable is starting to ring hollow.
    Have you read the thread title? It's an open question that invites discussion. I'm not sure why someone might suggest talking about Cueto's peripherals and his randomness metrics are off limits.

    Cueto isn't "THAT good" and you seemingly agree. I'm not sure why you're suggesting the analysis was/is heavy handed. But I'm sorry-it is an appropriate part of the discussion and it's been offered respectfully.

    Regardless Cueto is having a great season. I'm not sure why that isn't enough?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Is Cueto a scouting ace? No. Is Cueto the Reds ace, as in #1 starter? Yes.

    Cueto has the stuff to be a scout's ace, Cy Young type, and we may yet see it, he's only 26. He's not that far off from Santana's or Carpenter's numbers.
    2015 Rotation: Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake, Cingrani

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    But, let's be real -- when you really boil down the advanced metrics, the only way to be a praiseworthy arm is to strike lots of people out and limit walks.
    High five.

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    But why keep on beating the drum that "Cueto really isn't THAT good" by reminding us that "well he can't sustain X, he can't sustain Y..."? I don't think anyone is deceived into thinking any pitcher is sustaining barely a run per 9, whatever the reasons are that he won't. But he's starting to look like he can sustain being a top 10-15 in the league starter. Trying to explain away the success as unsustainable is starting to ring hollow.
    High five part II!

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    But, let's be real -- when you really boil down the advanced metrics, the only way to be a praiseworthy arm is to strike lots of people out and limit walks.
    I don't know about that. I think a solid strikeout rate, have a very low walk rate and get good groundball rates/keep the ball in the yard works pretty well too. Cueto is a guy who can certainly fall into that group. His walk rates haven't quite been there in the past and his strikeout rate has been a tad lower than you would like.

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    But it's not like sabermetrics says stuff based of personal opinion, rooting interests or aesthetics. It does so because it's what the numbers actually say.

    When you really look at the pitchers who sustain very low ERAs over multiple years, the only way to do it is to strike lots of people out and limit walks -- or do something very extreme regarding inducing weak contact. So far, Cueto's gone the weak contact route, but unlike Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and RA Dickey, it's not exactly clear what he's doing that produces his low BABIP.

    Let's look at the qualified pitchers over the last 3 years with the lowest ERA. I was going to take the top 20, but a certain Red was #21, so I included him here.

    Code:
    Rank	Name		IP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	BABIP	GB%	HR/FB	ERA	FIP	ERA-FIP
    1	Roy Halladay	772	8.0	1.3	0.66	.296	51%	 8.6%	2.57	2.75	-0.18
    2	Clayton Kershaw	652	9.4	3.2	0.55	.267	42%	 6.1%	2.64	2.89	-0.25
    3	Felix Hernandez	774	8.4	2.6	0.62	.280	52%	 8.2%	2.67	3.05	-0.38
    4	Adam Wainwright	497	8.3	2.3	0.71	.288	51%	 9.3%	2.73	3.08	-0.35
    5	Josh Johnson	491	8.5	2.6	0.44	.297	49%	 5.6%	2.89	2.75	 0.14
    6	Cliff Lee	705	8.0	1.4	0.68	.296	44%	 7.3%	2.90	2.76	 0.14
    7	Jered Weaver	721	8.1	2.3	0.89	.264	33%	 7.2%	2.93	3.33	-0.40
    8	Matt Cain	708	7.2	2.6	0.74	.254	39%	 6.7%	2.94	3.45	-0.51
    9	Chris Carpenter	665	7.0	2.1	0.60	.288	51%	 7.4%	3.02	3.20	-0.18
    10	Johan Santana	396	7.4	2.6	0.84	.276	35%	 6.9%	3.02	3.55	-0.53
    11	Justin Verlande 766	9.2	2.4	0.70	.278	39%	 7.1%	3.03	2.88	 0.15
    12	Tim Lincecum	691	9.8	3.2	0.59	.295	48%	 7.8%	3.03	2.89	 0.14
    13	Madison Bumgard	360	7.6	2.1	0.70	.309	47%	 7.5%	3.05	3.14	-0.09
    14	C.J. Wilson	468	8.0	3.5	0.56	.273	49%	 6.9%	3.09	3.38	-0.29
    15	Tim Hudson	504	6.1	2.6	0.70	.269	61%	11.2%	3.12	3.74	-0.62
    16	R.A. Dickey	424	5.8	2.4	0.83	.274	53%	 9.6%	3.18	3.84	-0.66
    17	Jaime Garcia	396	7.0	2.9	0.57	.309	55%	 7.6%	3.22	3.29	-0.07
    18	CC Sabathia	748	8.0	2.5	0.72	.291	47%	 8.3%	3.24	3.26	-0.02
    19	Wandy Rodriguez	638	8.0	3.0	0.92	.293	46%	10.3%	3.27	3.70	-0.43
    20	Cole Hamels	655	8.5	2.1	0.97	.288	46%	10.7%	3.29	3.38	-0.09
    21	Johnny Cueto	561	6.5	2.8	0.85	.276	45%	 8.6%	3.29	3.97	-0.68
    
    Average 1-5		637	8.5	2.4	0.60	0.286	49%	7.6%	2.70	2.90	-0.20
    Average 1-10		638	8.0	2.3	0.67	0.281	45%	7.3%	2.83	3.08	-0.25
    Average 1-20		602	7.9	2.5	0.70	0.284	47%	8.0%	2.99	3.22	-0.22
    Can you be a really good pitcher without striking a lot of guys out? Yes. Can you be a really good pitcher while walking guys? Yes. Can you be among the very best without doing both very well -- well, it depends on where you want to draw that line. And if you even want to be in the conversation, you better do something extreme with batted balls.

    Can you call Cueto an ace? Sure. He's pretty clearly been one of the 30 best pitchers in baseball the last few years. Just make sure you're prepared to call Tim Hudson, Wandy Rodriguez and Jaime Garcia aces as well. And realize that Cueto has the biggest difference between FIP and ERA on this list. If he's going to sustain an ERA lower than the 3.29 of his last 3 years, he's either going to become even more of a FIP outlier or he's going to improve his peripherals because he's getting as much help from his batted balls and defense as he's going to get just to sustain his current ERA average.
    Cueto made a drastic change to his windup, pitch selection and overall pitching philosophy last year. Adding in what he did three years ago muddies the water. Also, ERA and runs scored has drastically decreased league wide since 2009, also muddying the water.

    The thing is that over the last 200 innings, the peripherals have informed us that Cueto can't keep this up, and yet he still has. That clearly isn't long enough to draw the conclusion that he will continue with these results, but it's starting to look more and more likely that he can. It is starting to seem like Cueto has developed a new approach to pitching the defies what we thought we knew about the certainty of the impact of peripherals on pitching performance. Maybe the odds of the peripherals will catch up to him eventually, we'll see.
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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Have you read the thread title? It's an open question that invites discussion. I'm not sure why someone might suggest talking about Cueto's peripherals and his randomness metrics are off limits.

    Cueto isn't "THAT good" and you seemingly agree. I'm not sure why you're suggesting the analysis was/is heavy handed. But I'm sorry-it is an appropriate part of the discussion and it's been offered respectfully.

    Regardless Cueto is having a great season. I'm not sure why that isn't enough?
    Nothing is off-limits. I simply consider you to be making a point that no one is disputing regarding his 2012 level of success being sustainable, also known as a strawman argument. I mean, you're right, but so what? No one is really disputing the current level of success and its sustainability. But with each outstanding start, these "reminders" about his peripherals predicting some sort of correction have me saying "I'm still waiting."
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  12. #161
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Cueto made a drastic change to his windup, pitch selection and overall pitching philosophy last year. Adding in what he did three years ago muddies the water. Also, ERA and runs scored has drastically decreased league wide since 2009, also muddying the water.

    The thing is that over the last 200 innings, the peripherals have informed us that Cueto can't keep this up, and yet he still has. That clearly isn't long enough to draw the conclusion that he will continue with these results, but it's starting to look more and more likely that he can. It is starting to seem like Cueto has developed a new approach to pitching the defies what we thought we knew about the certainty of the impact of peripherals on pitching performance. Maybe the odds of the peripherals will catch up to him eventually, we'll see.
    And that's just 200 innings. It's a lot of innings, but it's also not enough to take him remotely out of the realm of being the beneficiary of a lot of good luck.

    Every time a team has some pitcher who does this the fans say "No wait, our guy is special. He's broken the mold. Just you wait and see. Our guy has figure out the secret sauce that has eluded all of the great pitchers of the last 100 years." So forgive me for being skeptical.

    From 2009 to today, just 1 pitcher has sustained a HR/FB under 6% and just 6 under 7%. Last year and this, Cueto is at 5.8% and 4.4%. Do we believe Cueto has HR prevention ability unparalleled in baseball?

    From 2009 to today, only 1 pitcher with a GB:FB over 1.10 has a BABIP under .270 (Tim Hudson, with a GB:FB of 2.67). Just two pitchers over that time have a BABIP under .260 and they are two of the most flyball heavy pitchers in baseball (Lilly and Cain). We know for a fact that ground balls are actually more likely to become hits than flyballs, by a significant margin. So being a groundball genius doesn't suggest an abnormally low BABIP. (Brandon Webb had a career BABIP of .286). Cueto put up a. 249 BABIP in 2011 and .253 this year. Do we believe Cueto has a hit prevention ability unparalleled in baseball?

    Is it possible that Johnny Cueto has figured out something completely different? I suppose anything is possible. Really, other than his ERA, where is it showing up? I don't mean this to be flip. How is what he's doing on the mound translating in to so few runs and how is that different than what other pitchers have done? How is he doing it?

    Maybe he's figure out how to sustain a BABIP of .250. Maybe he's figured out how to allow just a 5% HR/FB. Maybe he's figured out how to strand 90% of his baserunners. But it's very, very unlikely he's figure out something complete new. In my estimation, what's more likely, as you've pointed out, is that he's turned himself in to the type of pitcher who has maximized his ability to affect balls in play, like Tim Hudson or Matt Cain. And we know from a fair amount of experience that, at the edges, pitchers can sustain ERAs up to half a run lower than we would otherwise expect from their peripherals.

    With his new windup, I'm willing accept that maybe he's channeling Luis Tiant and his career .261 BABIP. Add in a world class defense that plays to his strengths AND a healthy dose of luck and voila. I would not at all be surprised to see Cueto sustain an ERA around 3.00, especially if he keeps up this K:BB ratio along with very good GB rates (K:BB ratio is far more important than either rate independently).

    Don't get me wrong, I think Cueto is a very good pitcher who has clearly changed his approach and gotten good results. I think he's turned himself in to a particular kind of pitcher who can sustain an ERA lower than his FIP. But it's a type of pitcher we're familiar with. And we know the limits of what's possible to sustain. And his 2011 and 2012 thus far are clearly way beyond that. I'll accept the small possibility Cueto is now among the best ever at doing things outside of strikeouts and walks that lead to fewer runs. I just don't think it's remotely reasonable to assert it's likely.

    Regarding the "ace" label, if Tim Hudson, RA Dickey and Matt Cain fit your definition of "ace", we should add Cueto to the list. I won't begrudge anybody who wants to put him in that category. But personally, I separate that group from the likes of Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Herndandez and Jered Weaver.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 05-11-2012 at 11:29 AM.
    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.

  13. #162
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Regarding the "ace" label, if Tim Hudson, RA Dickey and Matt Cain fit your definition of "ace", we should add Cueto to the list. I won't begrudge anybody who wants to put him in that category. But personally, I separate that group from the likes of Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Herndandez and Jered Weaver.
    Again, translation: He doesn't strike out enough batters to qualify for the label.

    You add 2 more Ks per game to Cueto's statline, and suddenly the entire narrative surrounding him changes.

    I understand that we're talking about skills and how skills manifest themselves in game, but I have a bit of a tough time wrapping my head around the idea that a pitcher who retires, roughly, 21 batters per start is somehow knocked by the fact that he allows 2 more of those hitters to put a ball in play per game than the competition that he supposedly doesn't measure up to.
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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    Nothing is off-limits. I simply consider you to be making a point that no one is disputing regarding his 2012 level of success being sustainable, also known as a strawman argument. I mean, you're right, but so what? No one is really disputing the current level of success and its sustainability. But with each outstanding start, these "reminders" about his peripherals predicting some sort of correction have me saying "I'm still waiting."
    First, it's not a straw man to argue that Cueto's peripherals suggest his ERAof last year and this young season is not sustainable and it's likely to regress to the mid threes given enough time. It's not a straw man by virtue of the definition of straw man.

    Second, clearly people are entertaining the possibility that Cueto's true skill outperforms his peripherals. In fact even you argued that suggesting otherwise rings hollow and you're still waiting. You can't have it both ways.

    Actually, I'm not really sure what your angst in the last several posts is about truthfully.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Again, translation: He doesn't strike out enough batters to qualify for the label.

    You add 2 more Ks per game to Cueto's statline, and suddenly the entire narrative surrounding him changes.

    I understand that we're talking about skills and how skills manifest themselves in game, but I have a bit of a tough time wrapping my head around the idea that a pitcher who retires, roughly, 21 batters per start is somehow knocked by the fact that he allows 2 more of those hitters to put a ball in play per game than the competition that he supposedly doesn't measure up to.
    Who is knocking Cueto? The question though is he an ace? IMHO, it's a bit of a whimsical debate to begin with because everyone can define ace differently but Cueto wouldn't be my first choice to pitch in game seven of the universe series against the Martians. There really isn't even a right answer on this one. But for that one "go to guy" a reasonable case could be made that Cueto might not even be a top ten pick from NL arms.

    Cueto is an awesome pitcher to have and as I said earlier in this thread, it's impossible to spin his story as anything other than an unmitigated success story for the Reds. If the best you have is Cueto to go to war with, you're in fine shape. There's nothing offensive about someone suggesting they might chose a different arm if given the hypothetical option.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Is Cueto really an ace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    I don't know if he's an ace [seems like one to me] but I'd like 5 of him in my rotation.
    This.
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Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

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