Yankees Fans: Are These Pitchers Best Suited for the Rotation or the Pen?
Cessa seems like the safest bet from this group to win won of the two open rotation job next spring after pitching to a 4.01 ERA over his nine second-half starts after being pressed into regular rotation duty by the Nathan Eovaldi injury in mid-August.
It’s an open question whether the 24-year-old righty will be able to sustain his success going into 2017 after posting some scary peripheral stats down the stretch. He didn’t really strike anyone out (15.8% of opposing batters), and while he did a good job of limiting free passes (5.5% walks), he allowed way too many home runs, even for Yankee Stadium (2 HR/9).
While most of the other youngsters in this group live or die with their plus heaters, Cessa has a full arsenal of four pitches that he mixes well. His fastball did average an impressive 94.6 mph in the big leagues last year according to Pitchf/x, but he also made good use of his curve, slider, and change as well. All look like at least average MLB offerings.
Between Triple-A and the majors, Cessa threw 147.2 frames in 2016, putting him in a good position to be an innings eater for New York next year. 180-200 IP should not be a problem for him assuming he’s healthy. That won’t necessarily be the case for guys like Severino, Warren, Mitchell, and Green, who all either missed time with injuries or spent a big chunk of the season in the pen.
With so many question marks in the rotation, a young potential innings eater like Cessa is a real asset, even if he doesn’t miss as many bats as you might like. He’s a solid number four or five starter with six years of team control remaining. That’s not a bad piece to have.