Cedeno Believing In Himself

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Luis Cedeno is highly regarded by his coaches as a true professional in the way that he carries himself on and off of the field. Like a true professional, Cedeno set aside the disappointment of being sent down from Charleston to Staten Island this year to become Staten Island’s top starting pitcher thus far this season.

“They told me to do my job wherever I am sent and I don’t worry about it,” Cedeno said through the help of a translator. “It hurts a little bit but I know that it’s not my decision and I’m working hard wherever I am in the Yankees organization.”

Cedeno, a 21-year old right hander from Venezuela, has pitched in eight games for Staten Island this season and has proven to be very valuable to the team by always giving them a chance to win. Cedeno leads the team in wins with four and only two losses. He also leads the team with an ERA of 2.23 and a WHIP of 1.10.

“I feel fine and I feel like I’m doing a good job here,” Cedeno said, “I’m going to be more aggressive this year and that’s why I think I’m going to be better.”

“I think that he’s going to be one of our horses,” said Staten Island manager Pat Osborne as he anticipates Cedeno being a valuable stopper in the Yankees rotation. “He’s a guy you have in the rotation that if you have a little losing streak, every time he takes the mound you have a chance to end that streak.”

Not only has Cedeno shown that he is the top starting pitcher on Staten Island’s staff, his statistics for the season rank him as one of the top pitchers in the New York – Penn League. Cedeno’s 2.23 ERA is sixth best in the league while his four wins tie him with three other pitchers to top the list for most wins.

Staten Island pitching coach Butch Henry has been more than impressed with what he has seen from Cedeno in Staten Island this season and believes that professionalism has been one of his biggest assets.

“I think he’s been outstanding," Henry said. "He’s attacking the strike zone with all of his pitches, his curveball has had some good tilt to it. He’s going about his business on a daily basis like a professional. As you can tell, he’s one of the top pitchers in the league right now.”

Cedeno had a very productive offseason where he played winter ball for the Yankees in Venezuela in order to prepare himself for the upcoming season.

“The good thing was that the Yankees gave me the opportunity to pitch during winter ball in Venezuela,” Cedeno said.” “I faced good hitters from single-A, Double-A, Triple=A and the big leagues. I gained a lot of experience there in the winter.”

Cedeno started the 2015 season with nine starts in Charleston where he pitched to a respectable 3.52 ERA despite a losing record of 3-6. The highlight of his time there being in his debut start where he gave up no hits in five innings pitched.

From Charleston, however, Cedeno was sent back to Extended Spring Training where he worked on his fastball command until finally being assigned to short-season Staten Island. Osborn believes that Cedeno was assigned to Staten Island to work on his consistency as well as perfecting all of his pitches.

“It’s a constant daily effort to get better with all aspects of his pitch package,” Osborn said.” “Not only was he sent to Charleston to work on that but he’s going to continue to work on that here.“

Two of the biggest aspects of Cedeno’s game that he has been working on in Staten Island this season have been control and consistency with all of his pitches. According to Cedeno, his command of the fastball and curveball require the most improvement.

“When I was down in Charleston and Tampa, the pitching coach talked to me about command,” Cedeno said.” “We worked on my command down in Tampa before I came over here and that’s why I look better now. I have more control in this league.”

Cedeno’s fastball velocity ranges anywhere from 90 to 94 miles per hour and his curveball offers a dramatic drop in speed at 78 to 80 miles per hour.

“I have to improve my curveball because I don’t feel like I have enough control with the throw, Cedeno said. “I had to work on my control with the fastball first which is the biggest thing that I’m working on this season.”

Cedeno also features a changeup in his pitching repertoire which he believes is his best pitch, averaging from 83 to 84 miles per hour.

“He’s got good enough stuff to pitch at a much higher level than this but it’s just going to boil down to consistency,” Henry said.

Last year, Cedeno pitched to a 1.23 ERA the 15 games that he pitched for the Yankees in the Gulf Coast League, nine of which were pitched in relief. Perhaps the most important element to Cedeno’s recent success has been the more aggressive approach that he has taken on the mound.

“Last year I was a little calm on the mound so now I’m going to be more aggressive. I’m going to be more aggressive this year and that’s why I think I’m going to be better.”

Osborne believes that there is no telling how good Cedeno will be but he is confident that the young right-hander can blow any predictions away.

“He’s a competitor,” Osborn said with a smile on his face. “You see him out there and you can tell that he’s got all the confidence in the world. He’s not scared to challenge guys and he’s got a little edge to him. A pitcher - really as any athlete or competitor - you have to have that, you have to believe in yourself and he does.”


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