Sunday, April 6, 2008

Parra vs. Cueto

Johnny C and Manny P are the two hottest pitching commodities in the NL. If you are in a Yahoo! league then you were scrambling to claim Cueto off of waivers this week. Even though Parra was already in the system he may have eluded some owners because he only had RP eligibility at the start of the season. In CBS leagues both of these pitchers were draftable so hopefully you took advantage before their stellar debuts. However, the question remains: Who will be the more valuable fantasy pitcher this year?

Let's examine this using both quantitative and qualitative data.

Ballpark: Cueto pitches in the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, which is one of best hitters parks in the majors. Parra pitches at Miller Park in Milwaukee which historically rates as a neutral park. Edge Parra.

Offense: Both the Brewers and the Reds have strong offenses. They each have a dominant power hitter anchoring the lineup (Fielder and Dunn) but the Milwaukee lineup runs a bit deeper. In 2007, the Brewers hit the most HRs (231) in the NL, scored the 5th most Runs (801), and had a team OPS of .785 (3rd in NL). The Reds hit204 HRs, scored 783 Runs, and had a team OPS of .772. Edge Parra.

Defense: Neither team boasts a stout defense. Usting FPCT (even though it is a poot measuring stick) Milwaukee has been below league average the past two seasons and Cincinnati has not been much better. Once Mike Cameron returns from his suspension the Brewers defense will improve. Edge Neither.

: The Reds have the better closer (Cordero vs. Gagne) but the Brewers bullpen has a deeper stable of arms. Riske, Turnbow and Torres have all closed before and have strong K rates. Weathers filled in adequately as the Reds closer last season but he does not strike out too many batters. Jared Burton and Todd Coffey have good K rates but have been largely inconsistent thus far in their careers. Edge Parra.

Division: The Brewers and Reds are in the same division so this clearly is a draw. Edge Neither.

Job Security: Cueto earned his rotation spot with a dominant spring. The only way he could lose his spot is if he pitches himself out of it. Parra, on the other hand, could pitch brilliantly yet still lose his spot in the rotataion. Gallardo is due back later this month which will push one of the SPs to either the bullpen or AAA. The best option would be to move Dave Bush to the bullpen but they could just as easily send Parra down to the minors and have him fill in if someone gets hurt. Edge Cueto.

Minor league stats: In 2007 at 3 different levels Cueto had a 3.07 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 161 1/3 innings. Parra, at 2 different levels, had a combined 2.45 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings. This one is very close but I'm going to give the edge to Cueto. He had a beter K rate and did it over a greater number of innings. Edge Cueto.

Opening Day Starts: Cueto went 7 innings, struck out 10, and allowed one run on one hit while walking none. Parra went 5 1/3 innings, striking out 7 and allowed two runs on two hits and 3 walks. Edge Cueto.

Bottom line: You want both of these pitchers, even in 10 team mixed leagues. Cueto has received more hype but both pitchers should be equally outstanding this year.

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