After every major league baseball season, people wonder how their favorite teams are going to spend their offseason. Whether it’s making a team rebuild or defending a title, all MLB teams are aiming to improve and eventually compete for a World Series Championship. All managers are aiming to enhance their teams at the draft, trade deadlines, or signing free agents. Every free agent is looking for a fresh start to succeed with their new team. Since the MLB lockout has ended, there are lots of starting pitchers who need a new home. I believe starting pitcher Johnny Cueto stands out more than any other free agent pitcher. Johnny still has the arm strength and skills to boost any MLB starting rotation.
Johnny is a Flexible Pitcher
Cueto is a reliable starter who can enhance any pitching rotation and lead their team to more victories. A traded pitcher needs to adjust to new team cultures or can badly impact a teams’ success. For example, Sonny Gray had an epic career with the Oakland A’s. After Gray was traded to the New York Yankees, he struggled with a 15-16 record and a 4.51 ERA through 1.5 seasons. However, Cueto is a flexible pitcher who played with three different pitching rotations. Johnny was the 10th best all-time Cincinnati Reds starter to with a 92-63 career record and a 3.21 earned-run average (ERA).
After Cueto was traded, Cueto helped the Kansas City Royals win the 2015 World Series by obtaining a 2-1 postseason record including a 1-run complete game against the New York Mets. As a 2016 San Francisco Giant, Cueto continued to dominate with an 18-5 record and a 2.79 ERA. Cueto had fewer starts through 2017-2020 but had 2021 comeback by achieving a 7-7 record and a 4.08 ERA. Johnny is ready to sign with another MLB team and quickly contribute to their 2022 pitching success!
Cueto can strike out Opposing Lineups
Cueto is also a solid pitcher by striking out many batters while limiting the number of walks and hits. Johnny has been a magnificent strikeout pitcher by tallying one thousand seven hundred ten strikeouts through three hundred thirty career games. During the 2014 regular season, Cueto became a strikeout champion by pitching two hundred forty-two strikeouts through 243.1 innings. Since the 2015 Season, Cueto has struck out seven hundred fifteen batters through one thousand thirty-eight innings.
Johnny achieved all those strikeouts by averaging 7.6 strikeouts per inning. Any pitcher who can strike out seven batters per game can limit the number of runs allowed and give their teams’ offense more opportunities to make a comeback. All batting lineups struggle at some point and they need their starting pitchers to silence the opposing batters until your team’s offense finds a way to score.
Johnny can WHIP through every Inning
Baseball teams also need a pitcher who can limit the number of walks and hits per inning (WHIP). Hits and walks can change the game direction by allowing multiple walks and hits can put base runners into scoring position while adding pressure to the pitcher to stop the runners from scoring. For example, you have a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. You walk three batters and allow one batter to hit a grand slam to steal the victory from you.
Cueto avoided these situations by only allowing a 1.206 career WHIP. He earned his career WHIP mark by silencing batters to one thousand eight hundred sixty-eight hits and five hundred eighty-six walks. As a former Hits per 9 innings (H9) champion, Cueto has been limiting opposing hitters by averaging 8.5 H9 for 9 of his 14 seasons. Any pitcher who allows eight hits per game is making it harder for anyone to hit while increasing his teams’ chances of winning every game. Johnny is ready to silence batters and carry his defense to victory!
Cueto can be a solid 9th fielder
A starting pitcher can be more than a major pitching asset to your team’s defense by becoming a 9th fielder. Pitchers can field balls, tag base runners and make the game-winning catch. Cueto earned a .943 career fielding percentage with one hundred seventy putouts and two hundred sixty-two assists. A player with three hundred thirty-two combined putouts and assists translates into twelve total games. In 2021, Cueto proved he was still a solid fielder by posting an .897 fielding percentage with twelve putouts and fourteen assists through twenty-two games. Any player who fields over eighty-nine percent of baseballs hit towards him has a strong fielder mentality.
Johnny can assist in double plays
Pitchers can also become valuable defenders by assisting in double plays and getting out of dangerous scoring situations. Baseball teams get into situations where their team has a one-point lead and the bases are loaded. If the batter hits a grounder, Cueto can field the ball and throw it to home. The catcher can touch home plate and throw to third and possibly get the final out at third base. Cueto can also start a double play by catching a line ball and throwing the ball to the nearest base. Johnny has turned in fourteen career double-plays including five since the 2015 season. Johnny is ready to be a great fielder and get your team out of any potential scoring situation.
As we move closer to Opening Day of the 2022 MLB Regular Season, Cueto continues to practice every day. Johnny is waiting for another opportunity to continue his starting pitching career. Cueto is ready help his next team win by adjusting to their pitching schemes, becoming another fielder and silencing batters