Monday, July 03, 2017

2017 Giants: June PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of June 2017, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details). I wrote on this first in 2006 (wow, 12th year of this!) and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).


What's Good and What's Not

From my observations, a DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.

Basically, you want to see a pitcher's DOM% to be over 40% and ideally over 50%, and you want their DIS to be under 20% and ideally under 10%. For example, Johan Santana has a 76% DOM and 3% DIS in 2006 (2.77 ERA), whereas Orlando Hernandez had a 52% DOM and 28% DIS (4.66 ERA), and Adam Eaton had a 31% DOM and 31% DIS (5.12 ERA). Read the link (unfortunately, they removed the article and thus the table is no longer available, sorry), as I noted, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and there you can see particularly how a low DIS% is so important to a low ERA.

If you had to chose a high DOM% or a low DIS%, pitchers tend to have a lower ERA when you have a low DIS% vs. a high DOM% (obviously if you combine both, you have a much better chance of having an elite pitcher).  But I think when the DOM% is high enough, you win more by choosing a high DOM% over a low DIS%, as there are more high quality games pitched overall.

I wholeheartedly recommend buying Baseball Forecaster and learning more about their methods of analyzing baseball. It has been greatly illuminating for me, and if you want to get a taste for it without paying full price, they used to sell their old editions of their annuals on their website for half price or less (plus shipping); but that was before he sold the company off, and I haven't checked recently.

Giants Starters' PQS for 2017 Season

Ty Blach - (30% DOM, 15% DIS; 4:2/13):  3,3/0, 4, 4, 3, 3/4, 3, 3, 3, 0, 4/

Madison Bumgarner- (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 4:0/4):  5, 4, 5, 4///

Matt Cain- (25% DOM, 31% DIS; 4:5/16):  0, 4, 3, 4, 3/0, 3, 4, 1, 4, 3/2, 0, 2, 0, 3/

Johnny Cueto - (65% DOM, 12% DIS; 11:2/17):  2, 5, 5, 0, 4/5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 5/4, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2/

Matt Moore - (38% DOM, 38% DIS; 6:6/16):  1, 4, 2, 0, 5/0, 3, 4, 4, 2, 5/0, 2, 0, 5, 0/

Jeff Samardzija - (75% DOM, 6% DIS; 12:1/16):  2, 4, 4, 3, 5/5, 4, 4, 5, 4, 0/5, 4, 3, 4, 5/

Giants Season overall - 50% DOM, 20% DIS out of 82 games counted (41:16/82)
Giants Month of April - 54% DOM, 15% DIS out of 26 games counted (14:4/26)
Giants Month of May - 62% DOM, 17% DIS out of 29 games counted (18:5/29)
Giants Month of June - 33% DOM, 26% DIS out of 27 games counted (9:7/27)

The month of June for PQS was a classic June Swoon (though, from what I recall, a beat writer once looked into it and June was not always that bad, just that when it went bad, it went really bad!).  The Giants went a horrible 9-18 in June, and the DOM and DIS performances hit new lows for the season and recent seasons.

As much as some fans hate on Samardzija, he led the team by a lot in DOM starts with 4.  Cueto only had 2, Blach too, and Moore only 1, and Cainer had none, zero, nilch, nada.  Cain is headed out of the rotation with such a performance and Bumgarner returning to the rotation sometime in the next month or so.

Meanwhile, Moore led with 3 DIS starts, Cain had 2 DIS, and both Cueto and Blach had one each.

And while Blach's month looked OK from a PQS perspective, he suffered from bad BABIP luck, and was knocked around all month.  With 51 hits given up in 36.2 IP, and barely OK roughly 1.0 HR/IP, plus too low 5.4 K/9, though with a good 3.14 K/BB ratio, as the only thing he did well in June was avoid walks like the plague.  That added up to a 5.65 ERA.

And it was just a bad month for the rest of the staff too.  Samardzija had great PQS scores, with DOMs in 4 of 5 starts, yet his ERA was 4.64.  Once again, smashingly great K/BB with 33/2 or 16.50 and 9.0 K/9, but he gave up 6 homers in those 5 starts, roughly 1.7 HR/9 (when you want it much under 1.0), which probably was what killed his ERA, as he had a superb 1.06 WHIP.  Cueto had a middling month, only 2 DOM in 6 starts, with a DIS, and his ERA was middling at 4.04 (though it led the staff).  Bad 1.54 WHIP, as he gave up 41 hits and 14 walks in 35.2 IP, plus 7 homers in 6 starts for a bad 1.8 HR/9, roughly.   And they were the two better starters!

Cain and Moore brought up the rear.  Cain had a 7.77 ERA with only 4.1 K/9 and 1.00 K/BB.  2.137 WHIP is another telling stat, as well as the 7 homers in 5 starts, roughly 2.6 HR/9 rate.  Putrid, but not as bad as Moore, who had a 8.88 ERA with an OK 7.0 K/9 but subpar 2.00 K/BB and 2.014 WHIP, lowlighted by 38 hits given up in 24.1 IP.  Honestly, amazing that they didn't have even more DIS starts.

The only good news for the Giants starting pitchers was that Bumgarner's recovery is continuing on schedule, he has been throwing pitches and swinging the bat, and I think he is due to do some rehab games soon.  He looks like he will return by the start of August at the latest.  At which time, as up and down Blach has been, it would not be surprising to see Matt Cain DFAed or pushed to the bullpen, depending on how well the relievers are doing.

June 2017 Comments

Nothing much to say, other than the offense was not the only problem in June.  The starting pitching had no highlights at all, other than the Sharks 4 DOM in 5 starts, but when that adds up to a 4.64 ERA, while that is a sign of bad luck, it could also be a sign that since he's giving up so many homers, an issue he has had before, it could just be part of his package.

Not Much Relief

The relievers did not do well either.  Melancon is our expensive closer, and when he wasn't pitching poorly, 10.13 ERA in 6 appearances, and blowing saves, he's on the DL with pronator muscle issues.  Law was supposed to be our new setup guy, but he had a 13.50 ERA in 6 appearances before getting sent down to work on his repertoire.  Luckily Kontos and Gearrin picked up the slack, 1.26 and 2.70 ERA respectively, in 12 and 11 appearances respectively.  And Strickland, in spite of his suspension for hitting Bryce Harper intentionally, has been the steadiest of the relievers this season, though perhaps the distraction resulted in his 3.86 ERA in June.

Nobody has been as consistent as the Core Four were in their heyday, unfortunately, in our bullpen.  But the Giants had to move on, Casilla has a 3.86 ERA but is being paid $11M for two years by the A's to do that, Romo has 6.20 ERA and being paid $3M by LA to do that, and both Affeldt and Lopez retired.  And the Giants have a lot of good relief prospects, the problem is that we are trying to win while figuring out which of these relievers are keepers, plus even those who looked pretty good (Law and Osich), then regress and need minor league time to figure things out.

The lefties failed as well.  Okert, who I was expecting to continuing doing as well as he did last season, has been struggling, and he had a 7.36 ERA in 4 appearances, as he got sent down as well.  Osich has also been up and down, 6.55 ERA in 12 appearances in June.  I thought that at least one of them would be able to hold down the Loogy job, but both have struggled this season.  So both righties and lefties were struggling in June among the relievers

Two nice surprises among relievers during the month.  Kyle Crick got his first call-up to the majors and did well in his first appearance.  But he appears to be nervous, only 2.1 K/9 so far, 4.15 ERA in 3 appearances.  Still, amazing transformation for Crick from last year to this year.  In 2016, he was struggling fierce, bad enough to stay in AA and regress to a 5.04 ERA as a starter then reliever (no better) after doing well enough as a 22 YO season in 2015 with excellent 3.29 ERA, especially excellent considering that while it was a great ERA, he did it as a 22 YO, about 2.5 years younger than the league.  As Baseball Forecaster has said, only the best prospects do well in AA at age 22.  Thus, while 2016 was a gut punch to his prospect status, I was still hopeful due to that great performance, as well as the fact that he's still only 24 YO this season.

The other nice surprise was Sam Dyson.  They picked up Sam Dyson, who, only last season, was a knockout closer for the Texas Rangers, with 38 saves, 2.43 ERA, but only 7.0 K/9, though good 2.39 K/BB, but had been worse than horrible this season, after 3 seasons of 2.45 ERA, OK 7.6 K/9, good 2.69 K/BB.  After a very rough first appearance with the Giants, as he clearly could not be fixed immediately by the Giants pitching brain trust, he has put in 7 good overall appearances in June at 2.45 ERA (6 appearances with no runs), with 10 K's in 7.1 IP versus only 2 walks, and that's with a .313 BABIP but .558 OPS due to all the K's.  He is looking like he will take over the setup spot for the GIants at a relatively cheap price, as we control him for another 3 arbitration years.  And given how Melancon has been DLed TWICE before the first half of 2017 is over, Dyson looks to be closer insurance in case of Melancon becoming Benitez Reborn.

Offense Recharged

As much as the offense has struggled this season, it started to show signs of busting out in June.  With a 5.22 average runs scored in June, the Giants should have been very close to .500 for the month, not 9-18.   And for the month, the offense went 15-12 in scoring at least 4 runs in a game.  But with 10 of those 15 scoring over 7 runs, the offense was skewed enough to not be enough.  And they only went 6-4 in those games, when they should have been closer to 8 or 9 wins, with any sort of good defense (pitching and fielding).  Once the pitching caught up with the hitting, the Giants won the last four games of the month (and won the first two in July so far).

After roughly .635 OPS in April and May, the offense busted out to a .772 OPS in June.   Hitters started hitting, with Span, Nunez, Panik, Hernandez, and Posey hitting from .893 to .969 OPS.  Add Austin Slater making his major league debut with a .866 OPS, Hwang coming up at the end of the month and hitting a homer in his first MLB game (fulfilling many a dream for the Korean free agent signee during the offseason), and Pence hitting .787 OPS, along with Belt continuing to be one of the brighter spots in the Giants lineup (people complain about him, but he's been one of the few consistently producing hitters in our lineup this season) by hitting .799 OPS in June, and the offense roared to heights that we have not seen since mid-last season.  Even Hundley contributed, with a .749 OPS, which is great to get from a backup catcher.

Still struggling were Kelby Tomlinson and Brandon Crawford.  Crawford has been in a funk all season, and yet it is Belt who gets the brunt of the complaints among fans for some reason.  I guess part of it is that a SS is expected to contribute less with the bat and more with the glove, but Crawford had improved year by year with his batting average, and he had a .777 OPS the past two seasons.  And his .634 OPS for 2017 is the lowest full season OPS he has had ever, even lower than his first full season in 2012, with a .653 OPS.   The good news is that he was much better in April/May with a .700 OPS, approximately, he just had a very bad June, bringing him way down.

Slater!

Austin Slater was the nice offensive surprise in June.  While Arroyo came up first, earlier in the season, and Ryder has had more prospect love over his career than Slater has had, it appears that his bust out 2016 season continued into 2017, first in AAA then in the Majors.  He hit .338/.391/.475/.866 in June, and the big caveat there is his BABIP was .403 in doing that.  He started 2016 with a .387 BABIP in AA Richmond, then, when promoted to AAA Sacramento, had a .335 BABIP.  In 2017, he had a .388 BABIP for AAA Sacramento before doing even better in the majors.

A drop in performance will happen, the question is how much.  One must expect a drop in BABIP, as even the best hitters in MLB history did not maintain a BABIP over .380 that often.   If he dropped down to .350 BABIP, say, then he would expect a drop of 53 points of batting average, which would drop him to .285/.338/.422/.760, which would still be pretty good to get out of him for the rest of the season.  However, if he fell to the .335 BABIP range, then he would be hitting .270/.323/.407/.730, which would be good but not that good.   But if he dropped to the BABIP to the .300 that is the mean for the majors, based on the above analysis, then he will probably need to drop back to the minors to work on things.

And yet, if you break up his games into halves, first 12 games and last 12 games, he has actually been doing pretty well in very small samples for the second half, a fine .275/.310/.475/.785 with .300 BABIP, and 2 homers in 40 AB.   I do understand that this is small samples, and this is not statistically significant amount of plate appearances, but what it does do is take a look at how adjustments have been made by both pitchers and Slater, between his hot start and more recent at-bats, to get an idea of how his hitting has been when he wasn't extremely hot.  You have to start somewhere, even if it is not enough to state significance, and so, hopefully, he can continue this nice stretch of less hot, but still good hitting.  It appears that he can be a successful hitter with a lower BABIP, now he just has to continue this going forward.

Trade Commentary:  Aim to Lose

With the Giants being so far behind, it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to contend for a playoff spot this season, barring them continuing to win so many games.  Even with their recent hot streak, they are still 23 games behind as of July 1st.  I know the Giants operate in a different way, trying to put on as good a winning performance as they can in the rest of the season, but given how far back we are, I would prefer that they trade off whatever they can for whatever they can get, while keeping the base set of players available who can contribute still in 2018 and build to compete then.

This is because the Giants at the end of June had the second pick in the 2018 draft.  I would like to keep within the Top 5, but I would take Top 3 anytime.   That would require the Giants to continue sucking this badly for the rest of the season, which I understand don't put butts into the seats.  But I think it is necessary for the management to bite the bullet and configure the roster for such a finish.

Trades would be one way to accomplish this, as any reduction of talent will sink the boat further.  Baggarly covered a number of possibilities that I'll also comment on.

Cueto:   This is the number one choice among all the possibilities, for bringing in talent that could make a difference going forward.  And I assume that he is gone, especially since the report is that he is going to opt out.  With Bumgarner soon to be returning to the rotation, while it won't be a seamless transition - probably Cueto gets traded before Bumgarner returns, so we might see Stratton getting some starts - it makes sense that the Giants trade Cueto in order to open a spot for Bumgarner:  it would ensure that the Giants would not have to embarrass Matt Cain by forcing him out of the rotation, plus, since he has not found his good groove, it would ensure that we will probably lose more games than win in his rotation spot (though, in spite of how bad he has pitched overall, the Giants are 7-9 in his starts;  this is the effect I've noted before, generally each rotation spot faces the similar level starter for the other team, and thus, while Cain has been bad, so has the other team's back of rotation starters).   I also especially want to trade him because, while he has been up and down this season, his record of goodness will outweigh any recent hiccups and the Giants hopefully can pick up a nice top prospect for him, which would be great compared to the draft pick we would pick up from losing him as a free agent.

I hope Baggarly is right that it's the Yankees, they seem to have a lot of young talent and would be willing to flip someone of proven value than another team trading off a top but unproven talent.  They have a lot of young hitters, maybe get someone from that group?

Moore:  Still don't understand why so many people are upset about losing Duffy for him, other than the emotional side (I still miss and root for him), as Moore, while he has been up and down for us (recently his cutter has been messing up his mechanics, so he's eliminating it in recent starts), can be a good to great starter for us, which we need a lot more than we do another good hitter and defensive player in the lineup.  And with Arroyo waiting in the wings, plus Nunez picked up, we had a lot of backup for 3B, whereas we need good starting pitching.

On top of that, he has been a serviceable starter for the most part since returning from TJS.  The Giants just need to work with him on getting the right mix of pitches going.  I trust our Giants Brain Trust of Pitcher Whisperers (Tidrow, Righetti, Gardner, et al) to figure out how to maximize a starting pitcher, and that is why we should keep him, if they can get him going good, that's another top of rotation starter, but at worse, he's good in the middle of the rotation, as well as cheap.

Samardzija:  Which leads me to here, as a perfect transition.  That was my hope when the Giants signed Cueto and then Samardzija.  Cueto was to be the great pitcher to pair with Bumgarner for a couple of years while the Giants worked with Samardzija to get him to be consistently great.  Progress can be shown by the great K/BB ratio that he's been putting up over the past two months.  Signs of more to go is the high ERA in spite of the great K/BB (and great K-rate to boot).  We still have half a season to get him straightened out for 2018-2020 pairing with Bumgarner.  No trade, we need him.

Panik:  Really?  He's the type of player you trade for, not one to trade away, especially when he has been struggling some, and all we would be doing is selling low.  And I agree with the article's quote of Giants insiders, we have not seen the best of Panik yet.  No trade.

Nunez:  He is another guy who makes sense to trade, even though the Giants probably would not mind trying to re-sign him when he becomes a free agent (assuming his new team don't seal the deal).  Has enough talent to get something good from a team desperate for a serviceable leadoff hitter (if they lose their guy) who can also be a superutility starter to give starters rest when needed.  I like him as a leadoff hitter, and if we could sign him long-term for a good contract now, I would prefer that, but I assume he will test the waters and could get a good contract, and price himself out of our range anyway.  Better to get some value now.

Pence:  Sentimentality on my part says no.  But even Willie Mays and Willie McCovey were traded away, and Marichal even became a Dod-, Dodg-, oh, I can't even say it.  However, $28M good reasons why he won't be traded, especially since he has not hit for a long while until this month and has missed significant time the past two seasons with injuries.  Would take a really desperate on-the-edge of playoffs contender that needs a power bat to boost the lineup.   And I would want to trade at least one of Pence and Span, to clear space for our young outfielders to get opportunities to start, especially since most of them are corner outfielders, plus maybe make space for Shaw in LF, by trading Pence and moving Slater to RF.  And Pence is the guy more likely to be valued enough by another team to give up a good prospect for him.  I would rather keep him, but we need to look long term right now.

Span:  As Baggarly notes, unlikely to get any significant prospect from another team for him.   But as he also notes, the team needs a big upgrade defensively in CF, so if there is a team desperate for a leadoff hitter who has been relegated to platooning this season, we have their guy.  Trade if possible, but most probably keeping.

Belt:  Not sure why people are so against Belt.  Has his ups and downs, but when all is said and done, he has a nice seasonal OPS plus provides good defense at 1B.  But with Shaw in the minors, we should be open to trading him if we can get a nice prospect in return, as well as salary relief, unless we get another good piece we don't have, like a good CF, great reliever, even a good 3B, since we are not sure about Arroyo, Ryder, or Hwang yet.  Shaw opens up this possibility, but I would rather keep him around than to trade him, that would be my preference.

Melancon:  I would be torn by this, only because we need a closer.  We do have Dyson, plus all our young guys (plus Smith coming back) who have been closers before, so it would not be the end of the world to trade him, but if we are going to be serious in competing 2018-2020, we probably should keep him.  Plus, with his injuries so far, we probably won't get much back for him.  But if we can get a nice prospect without contributing money to offset his contract, take the deal.

Bench:  Hundley, Gillaspie, Williamson:  I basically agree with Baggarly, Hundley should have value somewhere, but I think the reason we got him was to have a good defensive backup, so I don't really see them moving him unless someone overwhelms us (doubtful).  Gillaspie is nice, but if anyone wants him as throw-in, for a bigger deal, sure.

Not sure why Williamson is considered out, perhaps because Slater has been doing well and Shaw looks like he's ready for his closeup as well, but some will say that he didn't get enough chance to show what he can do, and would point to Duvall as why they are right.  I like Williamson, but mistakes happen, and Duvall is one, but one bad trade every 5 years or so is actually a pretty good track record to have as a GM and does not mean that a fan getting one thing right after getting others wrong is correct, either.  Losing Duvall is bad, but how about losing Ethier, Cargo, Ross, Russell, and Donaldson, for those who still want Beane as the Giants GM?  But he's not untouchable either, so a throw-in, sure.

Relief:  Strickland, Gearrin, Kontos:  I've seen the value relievers have netted in past seasons (and we can go with our trade for Smith as an example), so if a team wants to give us a fortune in prospects to get one of these guys, take it.   They are all getting up there in age, and I don't see them as shutdown type of guys, they are prone to bad outings often enough that they are not anywhere near Core Four level type of relievers.  And I did not care for Strickland hitting Harper then weakening our bullpen for the six games he was suspended.  He may be our best reliever, but that also means that someone could find strong value for him.

Relief:  Dyson:  I would not trade Dyson, he's been a great reliever outside the lost first half this season he had with Texas.  He is found gold among the trash, one of the ways the Giants under Sabean has been able to keep things going, like when they picked up Torres, Casilla, Blanco, or Vogelsong as minor league free agents.  The Giants made a trade in this case, plus, Dyson has a career history of doing well, unlike the others, but I assume that whatever the Giants agreed to offer is nothing close to the value Dyson has if he is back to how good he has been for most of his career.   Classic buy low benefit from high value production.

Bumgarner:  No way, no how will he be traded for much.  And not because I think we must keep Bumgarner, he lost that invulnerability to trade the moment he crashed and wrecked his shoulder.  If the Giants want to move him, teams will be frightened off and offer low value for him, as I believe that other teams will treat him as damaged goods if the Giants offer him up.  Best time to trade will be next season if they are going to do that, after he's been fully healed and performing his normal Bumgarnerian feats.  Even in the off-season, he would not have pitched that much before this season ends, which should leave doubt in most teams' minds.   I don't see many teams taking on such risk so close to the stupid accident without lowballing us.  And there is no use to trade him unless we get full value for what he has and can do.

Overall:  I'm not against trading anyone except for Posey as long as we are getting really good value in return.  Odds are, as Baggarly notes for most, low that any team will offer enough to get the Giants to move most of these players.  Hopefully the Giants are manning the mobile phones and staying in contact with teams with needs, and making connections when contending teams lose important pieces and/or need help with relief, in particular, since we have so many pieces (Strickland, Gearrin, Kontos) who are good but not great, and if someone wants to overpay for them, we should jump on it, in order to reload for 2018-2020.

We already have nice pieces for reloading already with Slater, Beede, Arroyo, Show, Andrew Suarez, and perhaps Williamson, Parker, Jones, Quinn, Duggar, Garcia, Gustavo Cabrera, Hwang, Reynolds, Calixte, Gomez, Ramos, Crick, Stratton, Coonrod, Moronta, Slania, Cyr, Jordan Johnson, Gregorio, Watson, Krook, Martinez, Webb.   It depends on our core players to start producing.

Posey has been his usual goodness, but Bumgarner injured himself and Crawford has not been his usual good hitting self of the past couple of years.  Belt has had a bad two months himself, but at .807 OPS, not really an area of greatest concern, unless you already had a problem with Belt in the first place.  Pence has been hitting very poorly himself, he needs to straighten out some.  Span and Panik look OK now, but had been struggling earlier for the most part, until getting white hot in June.  Arroyo also did not hit for much, but he is a rookie, and did OK for a while before skidding for a crash landing.

In the rotation, nobody has been doing well through the whole season so far, all have been up and down.  And the relievers have also struggled with ups and downs, other than Strickland, Kontos and Gearrin.  In particular our ace closer who we signed for big bucks, but has already had almost as many blown saves as he did last season, and has a poor ERA as well as two stints on the DL already.  There are a lot of areas that need to improve on their own for the Giants to contend while reloading with young prospects.

And if the Giants can keep scuffling enough to stay in the Top 5 in 2018 draft picks, that could net us a prospect who could start contributing to us in the 2020-2022 timeframe.  So if a sell off will help to ensure that, I'm all for trading off significant but not core players.

Go Giants!

2 comments:

  1. I think when Bumgarner comes back, if things do not change, they will have to put Moore on the DL. As poorly as Cain has pitched, Moore looks as if something is flat out wrong with him. He almost makes me wish that we had Jonathan Sanchez back.

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  2. I should mention, that I think several teams have caught on to Blach's act. They are often looking to take his outside pitches to right field. He needs to mix his pitches up better at this point. Also he has a propensity to pitch better out of the stretch. He puts the lead off man on quite frequently only to pitch better once a man is on base. This is unusual but I have noticed this in several of his starts. I have been disappointed in our rotation, but not as much with Samardjiza. I do think he has the propensity to throw a few balls right down the middle, but other wise great stuff. He needs to not have those mental lapses and he would be a top tier pitcher. Cueto's performance has been unCueto like, but one has to wonder how much of it is when he has blisters or other problems this year because still at times he looks like an ace.

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