Cueto Mania!

Almost exactly a year ago, Daisuke Matsuzaka made his big league debut, striking out 10 batters in 7 innings of work. Today, Johnny Cueto made his debut for the Reds and threw 7 innings of one hit ball and also struck out 10 batters in what was the first double digit strikeout performance this season by any pitcher.

During the game they flashed a graphic of pitchers who had struck out 10 in their major league debuts since 1980. Only Steve Woodard and Tim Hudson had struck out more in their debuts with 12 and 11 strikeouts respectively.

Cueto has dominated all levels of competition he’s played in the past two years with his high strikeout rate and minuscule walk rate. He’s made numerous 2008 top prospect lists including Baseball America (#34), Baseball Prospectus (#41), John Sickels (#21), and (#48).

Dusty Baker (destroyer of arms) let him throw just 92 pitches and hopefully they’ll continue to keep his pitch counts reasonable.

Tomorrow we’ll get to see the other Reds spring training standout, Edinson Volquez make his season debut. It’s been two big days for the Reds, maybe they can make it three.

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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

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