To give you an idea of where Johnny Cueto came from, here's a bunch of other kids from San Pedro de Macoris. Best case-scenario, they're going to be Cubs:
Which one's the future Johnny? Hopefully the jokester in the back giving ol New York Met there bunny-ears, but I digress less than 60 words in.
The world is full of future Johnny Cuetos. I will probably never have any idea what Johnny Almaraz saw when he signed the skinny teenage shortstop, but it was worth the bargain to bring him over stateside in 2005. By 2006, he was slinging rain-shortened no-hitters for Dayton. He looked like a cat glaring at a mouse. The mouse was opposing hitters.
He stormed up the ladder and was the #2 starter by 2008. His debut was pretty freaking fantastic, and I think anyone who watched it won't forget it: 8IP, 1ER, 1H, 0BB, 10K. This guy was something special
He's changed a lot since 2008. In fact, we've all changed a lot since then. But Johnny in particular has filled out, grown out his hair, and stopped allowing dudes on base. It's been kind of crazy growing up with him in a way, judging my own successes against his giant leaps. His contract (given, hilariously, after Edinson Volquez rejected a similar deal) has made him a millionaire several times over, and he seems to have kept it within the family, inviting his brothers, mother, and adorable kids with him everywhere.
I've said it before, but he's really the best Instagram follow in baseball.
San Pedro de Macoris is a long way from India, I realize, but much like in the film, Johnny got to where he is on a dream, hard work, and a devastating changeup. It was a difficult road, perhaps, but the fella's got a bright future, hopefully in Cincinnati Red.
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