Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto is off to a phenomenal start to the 2014 season. Cueto has been dominant this season, a return to form that has been a long time coming following injuries over his career with the Reds. We all know about Cueto’s great season with the Reds in 2014, but what else do you know about the pitcher?
Born on February 15th, 1986 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic Johnny Cueto was born into a country obsessed with baseball. There is not much known about Cueto’s childhood, or family life during his developmental years. He joined the Cincinnati Reds in 2004 when he signed as an amateur free agent.
Once a part of the the Reds organization Cueto shined, and the Reds farm system developed Cueto into the pitcher that he is today. It wasn’t until 2007 however that Cueto really started to command everyones attention.
Cueto started his career in the in Rookie Gulf Coast League for the Gulf Coast Reds, he had a 5.02 ERA in his first professional season in the Reds organization. In 2005 Cueto was moved to the Sarasota Reds in the Florida State league where he would finish the year. In 2006 he was moved to Single A Dayton, he dominated to start the season pitching with a 2.61 ERA and throwing a rain shortened no hitter. That same year he was promoted back to Sarasota where he ended the year once again.
In 2007 Cueto has his breakout season in the Reds farm system pitching across all three levels of minor league baseball and dominating across all three. Cueto was named the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2007.
2008 saw Cueto make it to the big leagues for the Reds. Making his Major League debut on April 3rd against the Arizona
Diamondbacks. He threw a perfect game through five innings and allowed only one hit over seven innings, the Reds knew they had something special right away. Like any new young pitcher Cueto was inconsistent for much of the season ending with a 9-14 record and a 4.81 ERA.
In 2009 Cueto started the season as the #4 starter for the Reds. Cueto was able to learn from then teammate Edison Volquez that season, he learned how to be a better pitcher that season. A pitcher that could work a strike zone. Cueto would end the season with an 11-11 record and a 4.41 ERA.
2010 was an interesting season for Cueto as he started the season as the #3 starter for the Reds. A 12-7 record was aided by a one hit shoutout early in the season, a shutout that got everyone’s attention. Cueto was also a vital part in the infamous brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was suspended 7 games for his role in the brawl. The Reds went to the NLDS that season, they were dominated by the Phillies. Cueto agreed to a 4-year $27M deal that offseason.
2011 was a dismal year for Cueto, injuries plauged much of his season, it was a season Cueto would soon forget.
In the 2012 season Cueto turned into the ace the Reds have been wanting him to since he was in the minor leagues. His 19-9 record led the team, his ERA was down to 2.78 as well. The Reds advanced to the NLDS once again that season, Cueto started game 1 but was removed after 8 pitches due to a back strain.
This season the Reds have to be immensely happy with Cueto. His 3-2 record is not indicative as to how well he has pitched. A 1.43 ERA is currently second in the National League. He has looked utterly dominant at times, through 8 starts Cueto already has 2 complete games.
If Cueto can stay healthy this could be his best season ever as a professional.