When Brian Cashman was asked what he has seen from spring training so far and what he has been impressed by, one of the first names mentioned was RHP Luis Cessa. Cessa has thrown four scoreless innings so far this spring as of Saturday and has caught the eye of the Yankees.
Luis Cessa, along with Chad Green, was acquired from Detroit this off season in a deal that sent reliever Justin Wilson to the Tigers. Both Cessa and Green have live arms and Cessa can touch 95 MPH on the radar gun. At the time of the trade, the Yankees seemed to want to sell high on Wilson following a career year while also looking to stock up on young, controllable arms.
A converted position player, Luis Cessa began pitching professionally in 2011 and made it up to Triple-A with the Mets and Tigers last season. Cessa was shipped to Detroit in the Yoenis Cespedes deal last summer. As of now he is seen as rotational depth and has built a reputation for having great control, as evidenced by his career 3.81 SO/BB ratio.
Although the sample size is extremely small, Cessa has come out this spring and pitched well for his new team. With a ceiling seen as being pretty low, a number 4-5 starter probably at best, Cessa does have some upside and could be used a long reliever, be kept at Triple-A stretched out ready for a spot start, or in the case of an injury or complete meltdown from some rotation candidates, he could put his name in contention for a rotation spot.
The Yankees have said they will let Cessa continue to train as a starter with the best case scenario is he continues to develop into a legitimate rotation candidate and the worst case being he has already reached his peak. With the live arm he has and the control he demonstrates on the hill, he is a valuable asset to the organization whether in the minors or in the Bronx.
The Yankees did get some grief for trading Wilson following his superb season in 2015, but he was replaceable in a bullpen that included fellow lefties Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve and now Aroldis Chapman. Brian Cashman did get a good return for him with both Chad Green and Cessa being under team control for the next several seasons at least.
Keep an eye and ear out over the next three weeks for Luis Cessa. He could be someone that could make his way to the Bronx before the year is over. The Yankees last season used more pitchers than they invited to their Big League camp so seeing Cessa in pinstripes in 2016 is not out of the question.
How much further he develops over the next year or two is yet to be seen but there is some potential and some hope. He will help the organization one way or another, with the best case scenario being he forces himself into being given a shot with the big club.
BYB Senior Writer