Thursday, June 30, 2022

Johnny Cueto joins White Sox’s rotation; 36-year-old to make team debut Monday night vs. Royals

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The Chicago White Sox have purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto from Triple-A Charlotte. Cueto, a veteran of 14 big-league seasons, will make his season and team debut on Monday night in a start against the Kansas City Royals. Infielder Danny Mendrick was optioned in a corresponding move.

Cueto, 36 years old, joined the White Sox on a minor-league pact in April. He’s since started four times in Triple-A in an effort to build up his arm strength after missing out on spring training. In his most recent outing, he threw a season-high 82 pitches. It stands to reason, then, that he should be able to throw 90-plus from here on out.

According to Statcast data, Cueto’s arsenal last season with San Francisco saw him deliver four pitches at least 15 percent of the time: a pair of low-90s fastballs, his trademark changeup, and a slider. Cueto is also known for altering his tempo to disrupt the opposition’s timing.

Cueto was part of the Giants‘ big-league rotation last season, amassing a 4.08 ERA (101 ERA+) and a 3.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 22 appearances. It marked the first time that he had thrown more than 100 innings since 2017. Cueto for his career has a 3.45 ERA (118 ERA+) and 33 Wins Above Replacement.

Cueto, a two-time All-Star who debuted in 2008, has spent time with the Giants, the Kansas City Royals, and the Cincinnati Reds, his original organization. 

Should Cueto perform well, he ought to stick with the White Sox for the duration of the season. Chicago is without Lucas Giolito (he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list over the weekend) and Lucas Lynn (knee surgery) for the time being, and has not received quality production from either Dallas Keuchel or Vince Velasquez; both have made six starts to date and have an ERA+ of 67.  

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