Eric Cendejas, RHP, Reliever
It's hard to make a mid 80's fastball from a sidearm slot work at a professional level, but Eric Cendejas has proven that it can be done. The Angels reliever has been overlooked for the past three seasons, being in the California League with the Inland Empire 66ers, with spot appearances in both Double-A and Triple-A. However, we haven't overlooked him as one of our none Scout.com voters had Cendejas in his top 25, and he appeared in all but one of the voters ballots. There's something special about this 2010, 33rd rounder, from California State Stanislaus.
Eric Cendejas throws four different pitches, all that sit in the range of 80-85 miles per hour, and all from the same arm slot, sidearm. His four-seam and two-seam fastballs both have good movement and help him setup a good count against batters. His changeup is on the plus side. His delivery on the slider became a problem late last season but was fixed right away, and has become a good two-strike pitch for Cendejas. Cendejas keeps the ball low but maintains to keep the ball in the strike-zone and it shows with his career, 2.1 walks per nine.
Cendejas spent his first professional season right out of college in rookie ball, splitting time between the Orem Owlz and AZL Angels.
In 2011, he started making a bigger name for himself, making relief appearances at three different levels combining for a 3.09 earned run average (Rookie, High-A, Double-A).
In 2012, Cendejas may have been the best relief pitcher in the Angels farm system, posting a 2.87 earned run average in the hitter friendly California League. During the 2012 season, from July 13th to August 27th, Cendejas had a 1.50 earned run average with a .833 WHIP, including 11.1 innings of scoreless pitching. Control was at an all-time high for Cendejas as he had a streak of 20 appearances (27.2 innings pitched), where he did not walk a batter.
This past season, Cendejas dropped off a very small amount from his 2012 star season, but still showed he is a threat out of the bullpen. Cendejas sported a 3.69 earned run average in the California League, and eanred himself a callup to Triple-A Salt Lake Bees for a few appearances, including two spot starts. Cendejas maintained his low WHIP, which is now at 1.166 on his minor league career.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
He doesn't throw in the 90's, or even the high 80's, which is probably going to give him the long route to the big leagues. No doubt though, all of our voters agreed that Cendejas will make it to the big club. Expect to see Cendejas with the Arkansas Travelers out of Spring Training, and if he keeps up his success from the mound, a push towards Triple-A Salt Lake near the end of 2014. Cendejas should be able to sport an Angels uniform sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.
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