This season, that role will come with a lot of notoriety as the Reds currently have the sixth best odds to win the World Series in 2013 (per Betvega.com).
Last year, through one of the most successful regular season campaigns in franchise history, Cueto was able to dominate in impressive fashion.
Cueto was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball last year and finished in the top five in starts, ERA, wins, ERA+ and pitching WAR (per Baseball-Reference.com).
All of that 2012 success led to a fourth place finish in Cy Young Award voting.
Cueto is looking to build upon that success in 2013, and the Reds could certainly use a solid season from their ace.
Cueto was dominant in yesterday's season opener against the Angels.
Over seven innings, Cueto allowed one run on three hits (one HR) and a walk while striking out nine (per ESPN.com).
Unfortunately, Cueto was dealt a no-decision as the offense floundered against Jered Weaver.
Cueto passed the eye-test with flying colors and held the Angels' big four (Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo) to a 2-11 showing with one walk (per ESPN.com).
Cueto had all of his pitches working to both sides of the plate, and if yesterday's performance was any indication, it appears that he may be in for a monster 2013 season.
In addition to a positive start to the season, Cueto has also added a cutter to his arsenal (per Daytondailynews.com).
The 27-year-old will use that cutter to work along with a low 90s fastball, a slider, a heavy two-seam fastball and a biting changeup (per Fangraphs.com).
Will Johnny Cueto improve or regress in 2013?
Keeping batters off balance is essential to Cueto's game.
Cueto isn't going to overpower anyone with his fastball, but his deceptive pitching motion combined with the addition of a new pitch and improved control over his other pitches should help keep his H/9 and HR/9 numbers low.
Cueto should also be able to gather up a significant amount of wins in 2013.
Including yesterday's start, Cueto has registered 42 quality starts in 58 attempts. That equates to a QS% of 72. That figure is significantly higher than the MLB average of 51 percent over the course of his career.
With an improved offense supporting him, quality starts will continue to turn into wins.
Cueto's name has yet to become synonymous with dominance ,but 2013 will go a long way toward further solidifying his growing reputation as an ace in this league.
All Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted