- Full name Jairo Joel Cuevas
- Born 01/24/1984 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Cuevas was streaky in 2007, opening the season with eight straight losses before bouncing back with six consecutive victories in June and July. Wins proved fleeting thereafter, however, as he dropped his last four decisions over a span of six starts. Despite his 6-12 record, he pitched well for most of the season and ranked seventh in the Carolina League with a 3.55 ERA. Cuevas' fastball sits at 92-93 mph and can touch 96, and it also has good movement. His curveball and changeup show flashes of potential. While he has promising stuff, he counteracts it with a tendency to overthrow and an inability to command his pitches. He opens up too much on the front side of his delivery, which causes his arm to drag behind. His release point is also inconsistent, particularly from the stretch, when he tends to rush his lower half. Cuevas has the strong build and could develop into a workhorse starter. After getting added to the 40-man roster in November, he'll start 2008 in Double-A.
A converted third baseman, Cuevas was the Appalachian League's 2005 pitcher of the year. He throws three pitches for strikes, including a lively 91-93 mph fastball, a developing curveball and a changeup that has a chance to be a plus pitch. His control is stellar and he coaxes a lot of swings and misses. He has good command of his fastball and can be overpowering when he's in a groove. If his changeup continues to develop, he could move quickly into the higher levels. He also exhibits leadership skills and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Cuevas still has to learn the finer points of setting up hitters and which pitches to throw in which situations. Still, he has impressed the Braves with his recent progress and should be part of a formidable Rome rotation in 2006.
Minor League Top Prospects
Since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, Cuevas always has shown a powerful right arm, with a fastball that sits at 92-93 mph and touches 95. Commanding his heater, curveball and changeup has been a different story, however. Over the last two seasons, Cuevas has walked 136 in 261 innings. He gets out of sync in his delivery, flying open with his front side and dragging his arm will behind him. He rushes his lower half while pitching from the stretch, making it difficult to maintain a consistent release point. He also overthrows, leading to further command issues.
The Appy League pitcher of the year, Cuevas maximized his three pitches and above-average location to generate lots of swings and misses. He mixed his 91-93 mph fastball, developing curveball and changeup with aplomb. Cuevas was brilliant at times but struggled with his control down the stretch, walking more batters in his final two starts (nine) as he did in June and July combined (eight). Up to that point, he had excelled at spotting his pitches.