ASK ROTOMAN: Cueto or Archer?


Defending champ in a 12 team, auction-draft league with four Keepers. Offensive categories incl. OBP & SLG to go with the standards. Pitching incl. K/9, QS, WHIP, ERA, IP, SV. Appreciate any advice on which of the following two players to keep along with Arenado ($1) and Correa ($1):

Stroman ($1)

Cueto ($7)

Archer ($15)

McCutchen ($29)

“Hello to Arms”


You’ve got two strong hitters at skill positions in Arenado and Correa, for less than peanuts, and Marcus Stroman for one samolean is irresistible. That leaves one.

McCutchen is still a bargain at $29, but not a big bargain, so unless you know something about inflation or your leaguemates (like, will they bid him to $60 because of scarcity?), I think you can let him go.

BTW You call this an auction-draft league. Does that mean you really auction? Or do you draft players with auction prices? This sort of thing makes a difference. But I can’t address that specifically, so let’s look at Chris Archer at $15 versus Johnny Cueto at $7.

Archer will be 28 this year, has made 93 career starts and is considered an up and comer. He actually arrived last year, pitching the whole season and for the most part dominating, thanks in large part to throwing his excellent slider more. There are many pitchers who find improvement and success using their slider, and a fair body of evidence that this increases their risk of injury. Still, it wouldn’t be crazy to see another year from Archer like his 2015. 3.30 ERA, 3.20 WHIP, about a strikeout an inning is just fine. Frankly, it wouldn’t be crazy for him to have an even better season, but it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect it.

Cueto  just turned 30, yesterday (though today as I first typed it), and has made 223 starts. He’s been reliable and healthy, generally, though he struggled some after being traded to the Royals last year, where he won a World Series ring, despite not helping as much as they hoped he would. But he did pitch well, generally, in the playoffs, and he crushed the NL team he faced, so while there is evidence that he might be in decline a little, there isn’t much evidence he’s going to freefall.

The interesting thing about Cueto is that he’s been underestimated his whole career. All the component stats don’t like him as well as his results, year after year after year. It appears that’s because, while he doesn’t strike out a ton of guys he does get an above average amount of infield popups, which raises his automatic out rate to pretty respectable levels. Now he’s in San Francisco, a good pitchers park, after spending his successful pre-KC career in Cincinnati, a homer friendly home.

I hope you see where this is going. I’m choosing durable hurler with long history of success in a hitters park (moving to a pitchers park) over the less experienced major league arm with an elevated injury risk because he throws a freaking awesome slider a bit too much of all of the time. And the gravy? The older more established dude is cheaper.

Arenado $1, Correa $1, Stroman $1, Cueto $7.


Ps. Notice how I didn’t ask how you could possibly have Arenado at $1. Rules are rules, I have no quarrel there, but that’s a crazy rule that gives you that.

Pps. Doesn’t it seem that the names of all the possible and obvious keeps you name in your letter sound like plausible Medieval instruments of torture or war? I know I would hate to be struck down by an arenado, or poleaxed by a correa. Please, no! Not the stroman!