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Luis Cessa had a big night for the RailRiders Friday. (Photo by Bryan Green)


Yankees Top Prospect #22 – Luis Cessa

Luis Cessa, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound 23-year-old, who will turn 24 next April 25, has a chance to help the Yankees in the bullpen in 2016.

He was obtained by the Yankees from Detroit with fellow right-hander Chad Greene in the Justin Wilson deal Dec. 9.

The native of Cordoba, Mexico, who is our No. 21 prospect, is actually a former infielder the Mets converted to the mound in 2011. The Yankees did the same thing with reliever Yhency Brazoban several years ago.

Cessa began the 2015 season in the Double-A Binghamton Mets star-studded rotation. He pitched rather well, compiling a 7-4, 2.56 mark in 13 starts with a strikeout/walk ratio of 61-17 and allowing just two home runs in 77.1 innings in Binghamton.

That earned Cessa a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, where Cashman Field helped Vegas can do that to a pitcher, but it became apparent Cessa’s fastball, which can hit 97, was by far his best pitch.

His mediocre change and loopy curve were hammered by Pacific Coast League hitters, but the Tigers asked for him in the Yoenis Cespedes trade last Aug. 1 along with fellow right-hander Michael Fulmer.

Cessa then made seven starts for Triple-A Toledo and was 1-3, 5.97 with the Mud Hens.

Despite a sometimes overpowering fastball, Cessa allows a lot of hits – 163 in 139 innings in 2015. His other issue is his mediocre secondary stuff.  The Yankees have to decide if he will be a starter at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or a reliever in the their bullpen.

He does seem to keep the ball in the park, which is a plus.

Cessas problem as a starter is he loses velocity after 55-65 pitches in his starts and his secondary stuff is not strong enough to bail him out. Thus, some scouts look at him as a reliever.

“As a spot guy in the bullpen, with the fastball he has, Cessa could be effective in certain relief situations,’’ said a scout from a National League team. “To be a starter in the big leagues, his secondary stuff has to improve.’’

It will be up to the Yankees to see where he fits. Though he was effective in the Eastern League, he was not in both the Pacific Coast League, where pitchers often have a tough adjustment, and the International League, where a starter can’t get by on just an overpowering fastball.

That seems to spell bullpen for this twice-trade former infielder, but, with work, he also could prove effective as a starter on Scranton.

Cessa is among those classified as “works in progress.’’

Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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