What’s Johnny Cueto Worth In Fantasy Baseball?
In the TDGX Experts League, Johnny Cueto is my top trade chip. In this dynasty/keeper league format, the right-handed pitcher can be kept through the rest of his career. Performing like an ace and sitting in the bottom half of the standings, it is time to shop the Reds’ 28-year old star. In fact, he’s the second ranked player in CBS as of today. So why then have offers for his services been so underwhelming? Has the statement, “never spend on pitching” been taken too far?
For those who’ve read ROTOscouting for awhile, we love identifying and targeting cheap pitching. It’s why we were enamored with Yankees Ivan Nova entering 2013 and excited to scoop Pirates Charlie Morton for a buck this spring. However, the goal is to acquire cheap pitching AND spend big on an ace. In the Ottoneu Experts League, I’ve owned Clayton Kershaw for approximately 10% of my team budget the past three years prior to trading him less than a week ago. In the TDGX Experts League, Jose Fernandez was the franchises first pick. When ROTOscouting advises to buy cheap pitching, it’s because adding an ace like Johnny Cueto is important. The owners who lose are those with a rotation full of Matt Garza‘s. In general, pitching prospects turn out to be much less than a Garza.
An owner in the league made an offer of Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon [SCOUTING REPORT] and Hunter Renfroe of the Padres in exchange for Johnny Cueto. It was rejected quickly. A follow up email led to the following exchange which has been edited to hit the high points;
We respect the Cueto magic, but also philosophically value bats even more for dynasty.
I value hitters more too, but I don’t even know where to start with your initial offer in terms of countering. In checking back at your trades made, you dealt more for buy lows and players who are injured. For me to consider dealing Cueto right now, I’d need a top flight prospect bat, second bat and bat/arm in return.
I prefer Joc Pederson’s median outcome to Cueto for dynasty since his bust rate is relatively low for a prospect.I’d be willing to deal several excellent prospects (for example Renfroe, McMahon, Kohl Stewart, Crick, etc.), but I can’t headline a deal with a top flight prospect bat.
That’s the thing with me. I’ve seen McMahon, Crick and Pederson in person, so my perspective is a little different. In six years of scouting pitchers and hitters, Stanton, Heyward, Freeman, Harper, Bogaerts, Goldschmidt, etc. etc. have come from the hitting side. As for pitchers? Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Zack Wheeler and the list pretty much ends there. It’s much more difficult to find a pitcher of Cueto’s quality than a Joc Pederson or Ryan McMahon and I like both quite a bit.
Why Johnny Cueto Is So ValuableAs an owner, it’s easy to prefer bats to arms. In general, it’s a basic philosophy of most fantasy baseball owners including myself. But when I’ve scouted Dylan Bundy, Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley and others with “Ace” stuff, yet none have become an ace, a bird in the hand becomes much more valuable than a roster full of prospects — especially when the scouting mantra is “travel for arms”.It’s whyJames Shields for Wil Myers made sense
even though the baseball public hated it. For fans and fantasy baseball players alike, the idea pitching is everywhere is a misnomer. Yes, MLB as a plethora of young, talented arms, but they’re dropping like flies. And while the fuse burns down for every pitcher, aces equal titles and only 8-10 exist at any one time in MLB. For the time being, Johnny Cueto is one of the few and needs to be dealt for a king’s ransom or not at all.
24 Jun 2014 / Mike Newman / 2
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