At the risk of sounding like the intro to a Criminal Minds episode, Yogi Berra once said, "Ninety percent of the game is half mental."
It took Johnny Cueto two seasons to get that mental aspect of his game in order.
There was never a question of his talent but it took him two solid years to master the mental aspects of the game, the mental toughness that it takes to excel at the Major League level.
In his early years, his mistakes, umpires calls and errors by the defense behind him, would cause him to become visibly upset and lose his concentration. He was 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA in his rookie season in 2008. Cueto was 11-11 with a 4.41 ERA in 2009.
Starting in 2010 with a 12-7 record and a 3.64 ERA, Cueto became one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won 19 games in 2012. After an injury plagued 2013, Cueto won 20 games in 2014. He was about to cash in on what he learned when he was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of 2015.
The Reds brought in former ace Mario Soto, a fellow Dominican, to Reds' spring training camp to show Cueto how to be a star. The pair were inseparable.
Michael Lorenzen, the Reds' 23-year old rookie pitcher, was seen next to Cueto nearly every minute of spring training in Goodyear, Arizona.
Cueto was 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA when the Reds traded him for three ultra talented, young left-handed pitchers.
Since going to Kansas City, Cueto has pitched in four games with a 2-1 record and microscopic 1.80 ERA.
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The 29-year has been an asset to the Royals on the mound but his value to his new team doesn't stop there.
Cueto has taken under his wing, young, talented but head strong future ace of the Royals Yordano Ventura follows Cueto's every move.
Ventura at 23 is what Cueto was at the same age.
"Ventura is extremely talented but young and aggressive," Yost said. "Johnny has been a great addition inside the clubhouse and out on the field."
Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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