Johnny Cueto in 2013 was a mess. Injuries galore and a breakdown in the playoffs had fans questioning how good the Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher actually was. Cueto has put to rest any questions.
After staring only 11 games in 2013 Cueto came into 2014 looking to rebound following last season. With a bitter taste in his mouth following an awful outing in Pittsburgh in the NL Wild Card game last season Cueto went into PNC Park Tuesday and owned the Pirates. Cueto pitched his second complete game in a row, allowing only 3 hits, 1 run and 3 strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 1.38.
Cueto is the ace of the Reds pitching staff. You could have made a case for Mat Latos following last season, in 2014 though, Cueto is king so far. On pace for the best season of his career Cueto has remerged as the face of the Reds staff. Since his debut in 2008 Cueto has been among the best of the Reds pitchers.
It is tough to determine which season has been Cueto’s best. In 2011 the right hander had his lowest ERA over a season at 2.31 and most complete games in a season that year with 3. For comparison Cueto has made 5 starts this season and he already has 2 complete games and 1 shutout. In 2012 Cueto started a career high 33 games, 217.0IP and 170 strikeouts. Cueto is back to that kind of form in 2014 so far.
While fans will always question who the ace is, right now there is no question. Alfredo Simon could make a case for ace status at the moment although Simon has never pitched a complete season so the jury is still out. For those of you who think Homer Bailey could be the ace of the staff, stop it. Homer is a great second or third starter.
Cueto will be back on the mound Sunday April 27th against the Atlanta Braves.