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Grading the White Sox: Johnny Cueto

Found money, wasted

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Take away the absolute fortune of lucking into Johnny Cueto and shortstop Elvis Andrus, and the White Sox are lucky to crack 75 wins in 2022.
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

At midseason, the SSS staff graded the 46-46 White Sox, from head of the class Dylan Cease all the way down to Dallas Keuchel. We invented a WARsss metric that could very well be just a cute way to trot out our special site grades — but really for all you know could be the product of years of research in a stats lab.

Our expanded report card will take us through everyone who saw time in uniform for the White Sox, plus some front-office types. Most of our writers will take on a couple of players, with final grades and short writeups, running through the end of November. Enjoy!

Johnny Cueto
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Midseason: 5.3 WARsss
Final: 6.5 WARsss

In an alternate reality, Johnny Cueto saved the 2022 season for the White Sox. When veteran workhorse Lance Lynn went on the IL at the close of spring training, Cueto was thankfully still available due to his age and poor results in recent years, allowing Rick Hahn to scoop him up on a minor league deal. When he made the team, he provided production far beyond everybody’s expectations, almost to the degree that 2021’s late sign, Carlos Rodón, overperformed.

Despite a strikeout rate that barely exceeded the eventually-discarded Dallas Keuchel’s, Cueto filled up the strike zone, limited quality contact, and threw inning after inning of excellent baseball. He was the only starter on the staff to average more than six innings per start, pitching nearly 40 innings more than Michael Kopech in as many appearances. Cueto’s ERA did not exceed 3.53 all season, and spent roughly half the season shy of 3.00. Constant as the northern star, Cueto was.

Cueto’s August 4 complete game (in which he took the loss) was one of only two for the team all season. On June 12 he pitched five innings on short rest out of the bullpen when Kopech left the game in the first inning with an injury, taking the blown save in the process but saving the staff in what would become a 12-inning affair. Even with the emergence of Davis Martin as a dependable sixth starter, the White Sox would have been competing for a Top 10 pick in the draft if not for Cueto.

Yes, the story should be one of triumph, but alas, unlike Steve Stone, we know how this story ends. Cueto was manna from heaven and had long-expired mayonnaise spread on him. Cueto was a $100 bill found on the ground and subsequently invested in FTX crypto. One of the team’s rare free agency wins went completely to waste on a team that couldn’t be bothered to make sensible decisions anywhere else on the roster.

It’s not that the White Sox can’t have nice things; they just can’t seem to make them matter.

2022 White Sox Grades

Johnny Cueto, RHSP, 6.5
Elvis Andrus, SS, 6.3
Reynaldo López, RHRP, 6.2
José Abreu, 1B, 5.8
Jimmy Lambert, RHRP, 5.2
Eloy Jiménez, “LF,” 4.9
Michael Kopech, RHSP, 4.86
Liam Hendriks, RHRP, 4.85
Danny Mendick, UTIL, 4.4
Ethan Katz, PIT COACH, 4.3
Tanner Banks, LHRP, 4.27
Andrew Vaughn, “LF,” 4.25
Davis Martin, RHSP, 4.1
Seby Zavala, C, 4.0
Luis Robert, CF, 3.7
Lance Lynn, RHSP, 3.5
Miguel Cairo, Bench Coach/MGR, 3.48
Tim Anderson, SS, 3.43
Kendall Graveman, RHRP, 3.1
Josh Harrison, 2B, 3.0
Gavin Sheets, RF-1B, 2.5
Jake Burger, 3B, 2.2
Romy González, IF, 2.0
Aaron Bummer, LHRP, 1.8
AJ Pollock, OF, 1.3
Matt Foster, RHRP, 1.2
Yoán Moncada, 3B, 0.92
Lenyn Sosa, SS, 0.85
José Ruiz, RHRP, 0.83
Mark Payton, OF, 0.6
Carlos Pérez, C, 0.399
Lucas Giolito, RHSP, 0.392
Adam Engel, OF, 0.237
Vince Velasquez, RHP, -0.4
Reese McGuire, C, -1.1
Kyle Crick, RHRP, -1.65
Joe Kelly, RHRP, -1.75
Daryl Boston, 1B Coach, -2.0
Anderson Severino, LHRP, -2.2
Jerry Reinsdorf, OWN, -2.321
Jake Diekman, LHRP, -2.366
Rick Hahn, GM, -2.401
Bennett Sousa, LHRP, -2.425
Frank Menechino, BAT COACH, -2.469
Yasmani Grandal, C/DH, -2.549
Leury García, UTIL, -2.7
Adam Haseley, OF, -3.146
Joe McEwing, 3B Coach, -3.167
Ryan Burr, RHRP, -3.4
Tony La Russa, MGR, -3.5
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, -3.9


Don’t even tell us our Johnny Cueto grade is too high.

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    It should be better.
    (12 votes)
  • 8%
    It should be WAY better.
    (4 votes)
  • 18%
    It should be WAY WAY better.
    (9 votes)
  • 47%
    OK actually, it’s just fine, godspeed ponyboy.
    (23 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now