Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Johnny Cueto's 2020 shimmies, ranked

'I have great balance. That's what I work for'
@MattMono11
September 3, 2020

There are pitchers who are fun to watch because of their blazing fastballs or 12-to-6 curveballs or eephus slowballs, and then, there's Johnny Cueto.

There are pitchers who are fun to watch because of their blazing fastballs or 12-to-6 curveballs or eephus slowballs, and then, there's Johnny Cueto.

When he's not relaxing in his bed, the Giants starter is an absolute joy to watch on the mound. His velocity may have waned as he's aged, but that just means his shimmying and stopping and swerving has only picked up another notch. It makes him must-watch television nearly any time he steps on the field. In honor of his upcoming start this weekend, we wanted to review some of his most memorable moves so far in 2020.

5.) The You Think I'm Gonna Shimmy But I'm Not WOOP

Cueto makes it look like he might turn and shimmy here, but then changes direction and quick-pitches toward home plate. It's a deceptive move under normal circumstances, but not against a powerful force such as Max Muncy, who leaned back and sent this one into the Pacific Ocean.

4.) The Look Both Ways Before Crossing Home Plate

This is a pretty simple one, but still very effective. Cueto checks the invisible runners on second and third. Kole Calhoun begins to think there are actually runners on second and third. He then begins to question how many outs there are, he then begins to question what inning he's in and if he's actually up to the plate or this is just a dream -- and then Cueto sends him back to the dugout with a nasty breaking ball.

3.) The Fake Fall

You may think Cueto is falling here, but he's not. It's just another distraction. He pulled off a similar move on Enrique Hernández during his no-hit bid in early August. The batter thinks, "oh gosh, is he going to fall, is anybody going out there to help him?" and that's exactly what Cueto wants. He then fires a fastball up near Cody Bellinger's chin.

2.) The Strike a Pose And Throw a Strike

This is probably the coolest one on the list. How Cueto is able to do a 180 spin and still pause for a moment mid-windup I'll never know. It's like The Matrix. Look at A.J. Pollock. He was ready for the spin, but he was NOT expecting the pause and stare. He's already stepped forward with his front foot to greet the ball and, at that point, he's as good as done.

1.) The OK This Time I'm Actually Falling

This is probably Cueto's most famous shimmy from this season. He was definitely falling (like two or three times), somehow caught himself and was still able to throw a strike and get the groundout to third base. If you watch the batter, Chris Owings, he pretty much loses all focus when Cueto is about to hit the ground. It's just as impressive that he was able to make contact. After the game, Cueto summed it up pretty succinctly:

“I have great balance. That's what I work for."

Yes, beautiful balance, Johnny.

Matt Monagan is a writer for MLB.com. In his spare time, he travels and searches Twitter for Wily Mo Peña news.