New York Yankees Player Profiles: Luis Cessa, the Yankees go to middle reliever

New York Yankees, Luis Cessa
Mar 9, 2019; Sarasota, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Cessa (85) throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees Luis Cessa is a seldom talked about Yankee pitcher, but his relief is indispensable when the starting pitcher fails to perform.  Luis Cessa was born Luis Enrique Cessa and was born on April 25, 1992, in Cordoba, Veracruz, Mexico. He is an American citizen and speaks English as his second language.

Cessa, in his native Cordoba, played baseball as a boy in the sandlots around his neighborhood.  He continued to play ball for his high school team. He played at shortstop but transitioned to pitching in his high school years, where he was often the best pitcher on the team. Cessa was scouted and agreed on a contract with the New York Mets as an international free agent in July 2008. In 2009, He made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Mets, where he again played as a shortstop for the first two seasons, transitioning into a pitcher again in 2011.

In the summer of 2015, Cessa was traded to the Detroit Tigers.  He was added to the Tigers 40 man roster after the 2015 season.  But in the offseason, he was traded to the New York Yankees along with pitcher Chad Green. In 2016, Cessa was named to the Yankees’ Opening Day roster in 2016. On April 8, 2016, he made his debut for Yankees on the major league against his former Detroit Tigers.

Cessa spent the majority of 2016 at the minor league affiliate Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Raiders.  But on June 26, the Yankees called Cessa up from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and on June 29, He had his first major league win, pitching three innings of 1-run relief.

In 2017 while bouncing back and forth from the Rail Riders to the Yankees, he played in 10 games in middle relief.  In 2018 that increased to 18 games.  Although not the best pitcher, Cessa was making a name for himself as a New York Yankee middle reliever.  2019 was spent at the Stadium.  He was mostly used as a middle reliever in 43 games, although he did save one game.  In one of his wins last year, he struck out seven in three and two-thirds innings.

During the 2019 ALDS against the Minnesota Twins and in the ALCS against the Houston Astros the 28-year-old Cessa pitched four scoreless innings in relief. This year if there is a season, he will be an impactful pitcher with Happ, Montgomery and Loaisiga anchoring the Yankee pitching rotation.  With Luis Severino out for the year recovering from Tommy John surgery and Domingo German likely not to play at all due to suspension, middle relief will be an integral part of the Yankee plan.

Cessa is not only a reliable pitcher to eat up innings when the starter fails to perform, but has regularly been used when there is an opener instead of a starter.  The combination of Chad Green and Cessa has been beneficial to the New York Yankees in those games.  In 2020 he will earn $895k and will become a free agent in 2024.

Luis Cessa has a warm personality that has caused him to be well accepted by all the Yankee players and is considered to be a valuable teammate in the bullpen. The affable Cessa has a main squeeze in Nancy Arreola, who is a media personality for TV Azteca in Mexico.  They have been going together for several years, and their bond is strong.  She even has a photo of them together as the header on her Twitter page.


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