Apparently, according to the MLB Preview Player Rankings, the Cincinnati Reds should be starting Mat Latos on Opening Day. They have Latos penciled in as the best starter on the Reds squad. They actually have him ranked No. 8 in National League pitchers with ace Johnny Cueto right behind him in ninth place. Latos is rated No. 32 overall in NL players, while Cueto is just behind at No. 35. Cueto is valued at $16, while Latos is $17.
What do they know that we don’t? Cueto had a WAR of 5.8 last season while Latos was at 4.2. Cueto actually led the NL pitchers in ERA+ with 152 and his career mark is 117. Latos’ ERA+ in 2012 was 122 and for his career it is at 112.
To scrutinize the MLB rankings even farther, Cueto is the fifth most valued Red as he is looking up to fourth-ranked Latos.
Here are their career comparisons. Since Cueto has pitched one year longer than Latos, let us use their career averages over 162 games. WAR is just an average per year.
* = Better statistic of the two.
Statistics extracted from Baseball-Reference.com.
As you can see by the above table that they are very close statistically. To declare a winner of the two would depend on which statistic or metric you trust the most.
Maybe the Reds do indeed have two Aces. Tell me what you think.