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  1. The 2nd gift is actually a Slider.

    Comment by David — August 7, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  2. *.gif sorry.

    Comment by David — August 7, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  3. I was thinking the same thing. The bottom .gif is a really nasty pitch. His arm action is remarkably similar on his FB and CH.

    Good stuff.

    Comment by CabreraDeath — August 7, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  4. “the best pitcher on arguably the best team in baseball”

    This made me swoon a little.

    Some of the more SABR-oriented Reds fans are still not convinced Cueto is this good, considering his out-performance of his peripherals, but that sample size is no longer small.

    He’s the real deal, and I don’t care how he does it.

    Comment by GlennBraggsSwingAndMissBrokenBat — August 7, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  5. I’m not so sure. I suspect he throws a different changeup to right handed hitters. I pitched in college and can tell you that it is easy to make a changeup fade or cut. Same grip, 180 degree wrist difference. It could be a slider, but it has very little horizontal movement and happens to be the same speed as his changeup in gif 3.

    Comment by Patrick — August 7, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  6. Don’t forget his Tiantesque windup! I think that further helps his changeup effectiveness.

    Comment by Cecil Cooper's Love Child — August 7, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  7. that’s definitely a changeup.

    Comment by alphadogsball — August 7, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  8. Ugh….Back in May I really thought it couldn’t be a better time to sell on Cueto’s low K/9 and magical ability to outperform peripherals and traded him for Anibal Sanchez…whoops.

    Comment by Scott Clarkson — August 7, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  9. In 2011, he wasn’t as good as his ERA indicated. In 2012, he is pretty darn close to it. I see a lot of people still trying to suggest that he is the same guy he was last year, but he simply isn’t. He has adapted this season and that his why his ERA is still very good.

    Comment by Doug Gray — August 7, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  10. Cueto does make me nervous because of his peripherals. How long can a guy maintain a HR/FB rate that’s almost half league average? How long can he maintain a LOB of 80%? When you look at the raw numbers, he’s not much different than he was in 2009 aside from his luck.

    Having talked to Reds fans, Cueto seems to be more than the sum of his peripherals. His change up certainly looks nasty, but his home park factors and good luck still make me think that he’s due for regression in the future. Maybe he wont look like his 2009 self, but mid 3 ERA (as his xFIP predicts) is what I think we should start expecting from him.

    Comment by Chris — August 7, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  11. The second pitch was a ball and called a strike.

    I wonder how a catcher setting up outside and moving into the plate affects umpire perception. It is commonplace to believe that it is not good for a catcher to set up in the middle of the plate and move his glove to the outside corner just as the pitch arrives. I suppose that the “illusion” works both ways.

    Comment by Mike Green — August 7, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  12. I thought it was a slider the first time I saw it but I am pretty sure it is a changeup… It just doesn’t have as much arm side run as the other changeup because it is thrown to the glove side of the plate.

    Comment by Nayr Mit — August 7, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  13. I already read this article when RJ Anderson wrote it

    Comment by pudieron89 — August 7, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  14. R.J. is a great writer and I communicate with him frequently. I didn’t know until after this was posted that he also covered Cueto a few weeks ago. If you’re suggesting I based my article off of his, you’re mistaken. It is a great read though and I recommend it.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — August 7, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  15. As one of the SABR-leaning guys you might be referring to (I argued strongly about the role of luck in Cueto’s ERA last season), I think you’re missing the conditional aspect of our claims.

    What those of us who made the argument said was that Cueto couldn’t repeat the ERA IF he didn’t strike out more and/or walk fewer batters. While he has maintained the ERA, his strikeouts are up 15% over last year (from 16.5% to 19.0%) and his walks are down more than 20% (from 7.5% to 5.8%). Or seen more simply, his K:BB ratio jumped from a solid 2.2 to a stellar 3.3.

    The HR suppression is still very impressive and likely includes a dose of luck. Since the start of 2011, his HR/FB rate of 5.7% leads baseball, ahead of Mr. Anti-FIP himself Matt Cain (6.2%), Jered Weaver (6.4%) and Roy Halladay (6.5%). Considering he’s pitching in GABP, that’s all the more impressive. I would expect his ERA to continue to regress towards his SIERA, but obviously that’s a lower number than it has been in the past.

    Comment by RedsManRick — August 7, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  16. I think it’s easy to see similarities in Cueto and the Halladay, Cain and Weaver camp in that they all have fastballs with enough movement to consistently miss bats, be they cutters or two-seamers.

    Add in solid secondary offerings (particularly change-ups) and it’s not hard to see why they give up few homers as they are so difficult to square up.

    It’s also interesting to note that none of those guys throw particularly hard, which may mean that their mistakes that still have movement are less likely to reach the seats than 95+ offerings. I remember watching Weaver’s no-hitter and very rarely did he top 91.

    Comment by Marcus Turner — August 7, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  17. Anyone else think that should specify that he is the best STARTING pitcher on the best team in baseball? I think Aroldis Chapman could claim the title of being the best pitcher on that team… Not trying to criticize, more just an observation.

    Comment by dormroomgm — August 7, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  18. Came off a bit snarkier than I meant it to, but yeah, was implying there are a lot of similarities in the analysis between discussing his mechanics and ERA.

    Comment by pudieron89 — August 8, 2012 @ 8:46 am

  19. that’s funny, i was on the cueto end of that exact deal but i thought i was selling hype for a sell high.

    Comment by jcxy — August 8, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  20. Major League pitchers don’t cut their changeups, I used to pitch as well (college) and while it’s true that you can cut your changeup, the modification in the finish/ arm action would be too noticeable, that’s a slider, I’m 100% certain of that, I’ll look the PITCHfx data for that game.

    Comment by David — August 8, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  21. PITCHf/x log says changeup.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — August 8, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  22. He might actually be the best (Chapman) but you can’t say when he’s A RP at the moment. Their value just isn’t really close to a SP at the level of Cueto.

    Chapman should be starting next year though. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t.

    Comment by Taylor06 — August 8, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  23. Duronio would probably know this article had already been written by someone else if he weren’t AWOL for relatively long periods of time. Really likes having the ‘FanGraphs’ in his Twitter description but doesn’t really like writing for FanGraphs.

    Comment by HOOSLAX — August 8, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  24. I was on RotoGraphs only for the first 6 months of my FG tenure aside from a few posts here and there.

    For the past month+ I’ve been slotted in on Tuesdays and have not missed a post. Confused how you could follow me on twitter and think I’ve been AWOL.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — August 8, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

  25. Also has shown real skill in kicking players in the head and prematurely ending their careers.

    Comment by UofIx3 — August 9, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

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