After Johnny Cueto’s mediocre 2022 debut with the Charlotte Knights on Saturday, the question was whether that start was merely the first step in a multi-start tune-up, or the best Cueto had to offer.
After Cueto threw four easy, breezy shutout innings against Jacksonville on Thursday, the answer looks like the former.
Cueto gave up line drive after line drive in the shaky road outing, stalling out at 2⅔ innings and 53 pitches. This time, tasked with four innings or 75 pitches, the frame count came first. Cueto faced the minimum over four innings on just 46 pitches. He struck out six against zero walks, and erased the lone single with a double play.
Jeff Cohen talked to Wes Helms after the game, and Helms said that Cueto’s first start served as a springboard for his second.
Cueto also topped out one tick higher than he did in Nashville, getting to 92 on the Truist Field gun after topping out at 91 here. I wouldn’t expect that fastball to gain more velocity from here, but as long as he’s not hovering around 90 as he did in his first pitches of the season, he might have enough power to fill a back-end spot, at least providing his execution is as precise as it seemed to be on Thursday.
Charlotte 12, Jacksonville 5
- Adam Haseley went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a strikeout.
- Yolbert Sánchez was 1-for-3 with two walks.
- Micker Adolfo, 2-for-5 with a homer, double and two strikeouts.
- Zack Remillard went off from the ninth spot: 3-for-3 with two homers, a double, a walk and six RBIs.
- Johnny Cueto: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K on 45 pitches.
Rocket City 11, Birmingham 3
- Lenyn Sosa singled thrice and struck out twice.
- Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-4 with a K.
- José Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a strikeout and his first stolen base.
Winston-Salem 7, Asheville 3
- Oscar Colás went 0-for-5 with a walk.
- Bryan Ramos, 1-for-3 with two walks.
- Harvin Mendoza went 1-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
*Luis Curbelo returned to Winston-Salem after striking out in 20 of 34 plate appearances at Birmingham. He went 2-for-3 with two walks.
*Here’s footage of Colás’ second homer of the season on Wednesday night.
Fayetteville 2, Kannapolis 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)
- James Beard went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
- DJ Gladney singled and struck out twice.
- Wes Kath doubled, singled and struck out.
- Kohl Simas got beat with a couple of solo shots: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR
Kannapolis 3, Fayetteville 0 (Game 2, 7 innings)
- DJ Gladney walked once and struck out thrice.
- Wes Kath was 0-for-2 with a walk.
- Wilfred Veras went 1-for-2 with a homer and a walk.
- Cristian Mena with the start of the year: 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K
I hope Cueto does well enough in his next start at Charlotte for it to be his last. That might put him on track for a Sox debut next weekend, so hopefully we’ll see the last of whoever is worse between VV and Keuchel.
Mena off to a great start. 19 yrs old. Interest piqued.
Yea definitely gonna keep an eye on him. Good K rate… he did sneak into the sox top 30 I believe so he has been on a couple peoples radars.
-How long does Rutherford have to flirt with a 900 OPS before he regains prospect status?
-Did I miss a Montgomery injury or is usage management a thing in A ball these days? Seems to have been missing from the last couple box scores unless I just missed him.
Rutherford probably has to do this for two months to make him interesting again, and likely nearly a full year of raking in AAA to be a Guy again. It’s encouraging that his gains have largely been via much improved plate discipline so far, which is the quickest-stabilizing measure of a hitter.
The problem with him is still the power, or lack thereof. I wonder which ball AAA is using.
100% agree. He needs to sustain it for months, and you’re spot on with the best results being seen in his discipline.
It’s worth noting that his home/away splits are pretty jarring at the moment. Standard small sample size warning, but he’s got a 1.164 OPS in his 7 home games and just a .651 OPS in 9 games on the road.
I need a 1000 ops out of him for the entire year
Colas looks like a lot of fun. I see some Brad Keller plunkings in his future.