It isn’t too often that a team’s number one pitcher is considered to be a sleeper in fantasy baseball leagues. Let alone on a team like the Cincinnati Reds, which finished the last year with an impressive 90-72 record.
However, that seems to be the case for Cincy’s SP Johnny Cueto this off-season. The veteran hasn’t been ranked among anyone’s top-20 pitchers and has even been ranked 39th overall by the experts at ESPN.
It is no secret that Cueto has had serious problems staying healthy in recent years. He was placed on the Disabled List three times last season alone with a nagging obloquie injury. The righty has had similar problems in past seasons, which can obviously be attributed to the hurler’s unorthodox pitching delivery.
This lingering injury tag has caused many owners to write-off the fireballer heading into the 2014 season. Cueto’s mid-stride turn has caused the veteran to have countless oblique injuries, and as a result, he has almost never hit the 200-inning plateau, but he is finally working on changing his pitching form and seems primed to finally have another All-Star season.
Despite his trips to the DL in 2013, Cueto still put up strong fantasy numbers. In 11 starts, Cueto went 5-2 with a sizzling 2.82 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Cueto has now recorded an ERA under 2.83 in three consecutive seasons and proved that he can be a reliable SP2 when on the bump.
Cueto will come with some inherent risk this fantasy season, but he can still be worth drafting as a SP3. So while people are ignoring Cueto in the middle of the drafts this spring, don’t be afraid to take a shot on the 27-year-old with a career 3.53 ERA.