With spring training under way reports coming from the Cincinnati Reds‘ training facility in Goodyear, Arizona on Johnny Cueto have been very good.
Reds’ manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay today that, “Johnny’s improved. He worked hard to get to this point. He always had good command. He always had good stuff. He’s worked on his composure. He doesn’t get rattled now as easily.”
Now I’m sure many of you are probably asking, “How can someone who finished 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA improve?”
It’s very simple.
Cueto has had some problems with his control and temper before becoming the ace of Reds’ staff. When Cueto was not getting calls or was having problems locating some of his pitches, it opened up a whole different side of Cueto that many Reds’ fans did not like to see. It was one that would have him throw a mild temper-tantrum on the mound and force Cueto into some tight situations with runners on the base paths.
Now, if the reports from Baker are true, it appears that Cueto is starting to control his emotions on the mound. For someone who has as dominate stuff as anyone in the MLB this is an absolute huge step forward in the right direction.
As you may recall, Cueto tweaked his oblique during the post season last year. It sounds to me like Cueto is fully healthy and is ready to become one of the best pitchers in the majors again. Cueto is going to be counted on as the Reds’ ace this year as he was this past season. Cueto seemingly was always next in line when the Reds needed a win or a good performance to give the Reds’ bullpen some relief if they were over used.
This is great news to hear, but only time will tell if what Baker says is true.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter, @bs_rant1