Examining the Emergence of Luis Cessa


This spring training has been kind to Luis Cessa. Overall, he might be having the best spring out of any Yankee. After yet another terrific performance against the Tampa Bay Rays at Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday, his spring ERA now sits at a stunning 0.53.

What’s changed from the guy who went 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA just last season? In short, he’s pounding the strike zone, setting up hitters better, pitching with confidence, and is in the best shape of his life. Adding an effective two-seam fastball has helped a lot as well.

Let’s dive deeper into Cessa’s most recent outing.

The 26-year old faced 14 Rays and threw a first pitch strike to all but three of them. Pounding the strike zone didn’t stop there, Cessa only had two, three-ball counts and none of them resulted in a walk. Throwing strikes has been the key for the native of Mexico to set up hitters to chase his secondary pitches out of the zone.

Tampa Bay really had only had a couple barreled up balls against Cessa, which both resulted in a flyout to centerfield in the 2nd inning and lineout to left in the 5th.

Cessa retired the first seven Rays that he faced leading him to a pitching line that reads four innings pitched, two hits, zero runs, zero earned runs, zero walks, and five strikeouts. His efforts earned him his second win of the spring, improving his record to a perfect 2-0 across his flawless 17 spring training innings.

You might say, well that’s great but Spring Training stats don’t mean anything. You’re right and that’s where I am going to acknowledge the truth, but rebuttal by looking past the numbers and say that this is a different pitcher than we have ever seen.

A huge promising sign was how comfortable he looked on the mound. He showed great poise and worked quickly with a good pace throughout his outings this spring.

His lively fastball touched 94 miles per hour, dipping as low as 90 mph. However, he sat around the 92-mph mark. Cessa also threw his slider, curveball, and changeup in the outing. His slider was 81-85, changeup was 83, and curve was anywhere between 79-82. As previously stated, Cessa threw all pitches for strikes, and also threw them in any count, generating swings-and-misses with them.

Dating back to last year, some within the Yankees organization gushed over his potential, and now I think we are finally seeing the results fall into place.

What we do know is that he is 100% making the Opening Day roster because he’s out of minor league options, and if he would be DFA’d, another organization would surely claim him.

My gut says give the guy a chance to pitch in the rotation and see what you have in him. After all the Yankees are down two starters (Luis Severino and CC Sabathia) to start the season and he’s pitched the best out of Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga.