The Royals’ Johnny Cueto (yeah, you can go ahead and say that) will soon be in Kansas City and here are 10 things you may not have known about him.
1. Since the start of the 2014 seasons, Cueto has racked up 242 strikeouts, tied with Stephen Strasburg for the fifth most in baseball. Only David Price (271), Corey Kluber (269), Max Scherzer (252) and Felix Hernandez (248) are ahead of Cueto.
2. Cueto has a 4.59 ERA against other teams in the AL Central this season. The breakdown: Tigers (5 1/3 innings, three earned runs, one home run, two walks, four strikeouts), Indians (four innings, two earned runs, six walks, two strikeouts) and White Sox (8 1/3 innings, four earned runs, two home runs, two walks, seven strikeouts)
3. In May, Cueto was scratched from a start with soreness in his elbow, but an MRI didn’t show any structural damage.
4. Cueto is from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, which is 50 or so miles south of Samana, which is where Yordano Ventura is from.
But unlike some Dominican players, Cueto says he didn’t grow up with financial hardships. Cueto credited his mom, Maria Christina, for taking such good care of Cueto and his siblings.
“I never had to beg for equipment,” Cueto told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Some of my friends and the other kids in the barrio (neighborhood), they had to beg (the baseball stars who came back home from the States) for things, but that was never me. My mom wouldn’t let me beg. She’d buy it for me.”
5. According to ESPN, over the last two seasons Cueto has gone at least eight innings in 21 of his starts. The only pitcher with more starts of eight-plus innings? Detroit’s David Price.
6. Cueto is making $10 million this season and will be a free agent at season’s end. Because the Royals acquired him in a midseason trade, they will not get a draft pick if Cueto signs after the season with another team.
7. Since 2010, Cueto has the second-lowest ERA (2.72) among active starters with 900 or more innings pitched. Only Clayton Kershaw (2.29) has been better.
8. In a 3-2 victory against the Diamondbacks on April 3, 2008, Cueto became the first pitcher in modern major-league history to record 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk in his debut.
9. Since 1969 (start of divisional play), only six National League pitchers have had at least 20 wins, 242 strikeouts and an ERA under 2.30: Cueto (2014), Clayton Kershaw (2011), Dwight Gooden (1985), Tom Seaver (1971), Steve Carlton (1972) and Bob Gibson (1969).
10. Cueto is only the seventh pitcher born in the Dominican Republic to record 20 wins in a season (Juaquin Andjuar, Bartolo Colon, Jose Lima, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez).