Name: Luis Cedeno
DOB: July 14, 1994
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. In his younger days Cedeno was more known for his advanced fastball command than his [then] rather average big league velocity, sitting more in the 88-90 mph range at the time. He could paint corners with the best of them, however. That velocity began to creep up a bit in late 2015 when his sitting velocity was more in the 92-93 mph range and that average velocity spiked all the way up to 94-96 mph for a good portion of last season, even topping out at a reported 98 mph. Standing just 5-foot-11 though, he wasn't able to maintain that mid-90s velocity over the entire season, however. It went back down to the 92-93 mph range over the final month of the season. While the velocity did go up in 2016, the command wasn't nearly as good either. It more above average than standout as he attempted to harness the increased power better.
Other Pitches. Cedeno has always been armed with two quality secondary pitches, neither of which is noticeably better than the other. He probably goes to his curveball a bit more than the changeup but not by a wide margin, a breaking ball that sits in the low-to-mid-80s with very good biting action. It is his primary strikeout pitch when he's ahead in counts and he can throw it for strikes at will. An above average big league pitch, the same can be said about his changeup too. It shows good fade and depth, and like the fastball and curveball he can fill up the zone with it. While not a big-time strikeout pitch, he can get lefties chasing it at times but it's more of a contact out-pitch. Both are very, very reliable pitches.
Pitching. Even when Cedeno's stuff was more average to slightly above average he still pitched with a real bulldog mentality, one that attacked batters seemingly with a strike on every pitch and he never allowed batters to get too comfortable either as he employed an up-tempo pace too. That approach really hasn't changed even though the stuff has spiked, he still goes right after guys. What has changed, however, is the fastball command, which used to be quite special, is now a tick above average as he is still learning to control the added power. Given his track history of pinpoint command in the pas, few scouts consider that a long-term problem. He is also very well centered and athletic, making his mechanics very repeatable and he is way above average in the other aspects of pitching; holding runners and field his position. Where there is a concern with Cedeno is stamina-wise. Not exactly well built, he can have issues maintaining power and command deep into starts, and it's an even bigger question mark over the course of a long season.
Projection. With three above average or better pitches and above average command that still has room to improve as well Cedeno seemingly has nearly everything in place on paper to safely project as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher at minimum someday. That projection is likely even if the velocity spike doesn't hold up to the mid-90s over the course of a long season either, just as long as he doesn't revert further below his 92-93 mph low-end range from the past two years. Still just 22 years old, if he could put on and maintain a bit more weight, and increase his stamina even more it would only heighten his chances of fulfilling that kind of potential too. If one is able to take out the lunacy in comparing careers, there's a David Cone-esque quality to him as a smaller but powerful starting pitcher with real intelligence on the mound too and like most smaller stature pitchers he'll need to keep proving himself as he moves up, and keep up on his stamina and conditioning to not only maintain power but preserve his health.
ETA. 2019. The surging power Cedeno has shown is leaving the Yankees with little to no excuses in regards to moving Cedeno quicker. In fact, about to enter his sixth minor league season in 2017, if Cedeno shows the same kind of power it'll be near impossible to hide him next offseason. He'll open up in the Tampa Yankees starting rotation but should he have success there he should see ample time in the Double-A rotation in the not-so-distant future shortly thereafter. He needs to be challenged.