Continuing our series of rookie profiles, today we turn our attention to right-hander Luis Cessa, new owner of a spot in the New York Yankees bullpen.
First, the basics from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Luis Cessa, HP, New York Yankees
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 190 DOB: April 25, 1992
2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade C
Originally signed by the Mets in 2008 as an infielder out of Mexico, Cessa was traded to the Tigers last summer in the Yoenis Cespedes deal, then was swapped to the Yankees over the winter in the Justin Wilson transaction. He can get his fastball up to 93-95 MPH and has a workable change-up, but his breaking ball is very erratic, varying between adequate and poor. The fastball/change combination was enough for him to succeed in Double-A but he found the going much more difficult in Triple-A. Cessa has the basics to be a good pitcher. He has arm strength and can command two pitches, but without a better breaking ball I think he is destined for the pen. Grade C.
Cessa threw 11 innings for the major league club in spring training, posting a 3.27 ERA with an 11/3 K/BB and 10 hits allowed. He was very hittable in Triple-A action last year in the Mets and Tigers systems, giving up 86 hits in 62 innings as a starter with an ERA of 6.97, but in spring training bullpen work his stuff played up and he wasn't an easy touch.
At this point Cessa seems well-suited for relief but in the medium and long runs that might change. It is plausible that he could take an Adam Warren or David Phelps path, getting his feet wet in relief, then eventually moving into a swingman/part-time starter role if his secondary pitches progress as hoped. Based on the most recent information you can move his rating up to a Grade C+.