New York Yankees: Luis Cessa 2020 Preview

Okay, I know I can’t be the only person who would always roll my eyes when I heard New York Yankees announcers say, “Luis Cessa is warming up”. Cessa has just been one of those guys who has stuck around and nobody really knew why. Occasionally he would be solid when he pitched, but other times he looked like a guy who was way out of his element. However, maybe the Yankees have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to Luis Cessa. For the last few years, Cessa has bounced between being a long-reliever and a spot starter for the Yankees. Doing neither with a high level of success. Again, he would show flashes, but most of the time the results were not ideal. Last year, there was a moment where I think I saw the real potential of Luis Cessa. The two games he pitched in relief against the Astros in the ALCS really showed me a lot. Cessa was able to pitch four shutout innings against one of the best lineups in baseball and he did it on the biggest stage. Cessa looked very comfortable, and pitching in a two-inning outing seemed perfect for Cessa. Do you notice how Cessa’s name hasn’t really been mentioned when it comes to the fifth spot in the Yankees injury-plagued rotation? I think the Yankees know where Luis Cessa’s best spot is for the 2020 season.

2020 Preview

In 2020, the ability to get guys out on both sides of the plate will be extremely important especially with this new three batter rule for relievers. Cessa mainly throws three pitches that can get guys out on both sides of the plate. When on, he shows a plus slider along with a very good changeup. Cessa has also shown good command with his fastball. This three-pitch mix will help Cessa be a weapon for the Yankees out of the bullpen this year. Cessa will be a guy that can stretch it out if needed for the Yankees as well. If they need a guy to come in during the fourth inning to keep the game close, Cessa can be that guy. A good thing for Cessa is he will not have as much pressure on him as the other guys in the pen. Nobody is expecting Luis Cessa to be the best bullpen arm the New York Yankees have. That’s an advantage for Cessa. The Yankees can throw him in early in a game or he can come in late when one of the top tier guys needs the night off. If the latter scenario occurs, Cessa has the stuff to be successful in a late-inning role. 2020 is the year for Luis Cessa. He no longer has any minor league options so he’s either going to be a key piece for the Yankees for the 2020 campaign, or he’s going to find his way out the door. I tend to think we are going to see some good things from Mr. Cessa in 2020.

A 10 Part Breakdown of the Yankees Depth: Part 10, Relief Pitching

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

With the Yankees reporting to Spring Training in about a month, it’s time we wrap this up. While the Yankees will continue to improve their depth at all positions through trades, free agency, and the like, what we have now is probably going to be it coming into Opening Day. So how does our bullpen really look?

Pretty Good Sparky. Pretty… Good

You gotta feel good about Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino (even if they’re all under contract). With the maximum of 5 more relievers, the race is truly on to see who has the best bullpen in baseball.

Rounding out our pen is Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Johnathan Loaisiga, Johnathan Holder, Mike King, Stephen Tarpley, and Deivi Garcia to name just eight.

Where the Pen Can Improve

Our starters had a bit of trouble in going deep into games. Let’s look at some of the numbers:

Masahiro Tanaka, in 11 of his 32 games pitched last season, didn’t make it through 6 innings 11 times.

JA Happ, in 21 of his 31 games pitched, couldn’t get through 6 innings, averaging about 5.

In 16 of James Paxton’s 29 games, he couldn’t get out of 6 innings.

13 times out of 27 games, Domingo German couldn’t get through 6 innings.

CC started in 22 games. He couldn’t get through 6 innings 16 times.

In other words, that’s about 332 extra innings the bullpen had to pitch last year. Most guys in the pen the Yankees leaned on were at best one-inning guys.

With the Yankees noted history of treating pitchers with kid gloves (they were talking about shutting down Severino in 2017, shut down Phil Hughes in 2010, and let’s not forget how ineffective Jobba Chamberlain became due to the Jobba rules), they need long relievers. Losing Nestor Cortes Jr., however ineffective he may have been, hurt. But, saving at least one spot in the pen to bring Jordan Montgomery up to speed as a pitcher, or to see just what Deivi Garcia can do, is the best thing for the Yankees this season. They need a long man out of the pen. Almost as badly as they needed Gerrit Cole.

Do The New York Mets Benefit From Dellin Betances?

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees just lost Dellin Betances to the NY Mets. What does this mean for the power dynamics in the battle for New York?

The Yankees Bullpen

Dellin was a cornerstone of the Yankees bullpen for much of this rapidly ending decade. A 95+ MPH fastball, and a FILTHY curveball. But what Dellin always suffered from was a regular case of inconsistency. 2017 saw him losing immense control right up to the playoff push that season, complete with a 9.00 ERA, and a WHIP of 3.0000 in the 2017 ALCS. The Yankees were able to construct a more than capable bullpen built around Betances from 2014-2018, and we largely didn’t need Dellin last year when he was hurt. But 5 consecutive years with 66 minimum innings pitched, and 100+ strikeouts is a serious blow.

But Does it Help the Mets?

Betances provides some stability to a largely unstable Mets bullpen. Look at what Jeurys Familia is capable of. Some great things, and he’s also painfully inconsistent. Edwin Diaz had arguably one of the most horrendous 2019’s a closer could have. Lugo was easily the brightest spots in the Mets pen last year. But is that enough to hinge your bets on? Thor and deGromm both can go deep enough into a game to help keep the pen fresh. But Porcello, Wacha, and Matz having inconsistent to awful years last years, having 3 guys in your pen you can’t rely on to stay steady an entire season leaves one to suspect how bad things can get.

What Caused Betances Going to Queens?

The best rationale is two possibilities. We all know how the Yankees are trying to save the most money while putting the team from the last 2 seasons back on the field with the necessary improvements of Gerrit Cole. Betances wanted at least $10 million and got $10.5 for 2020. If the Yankees took that on, they’d be paying closer to $15 million for Betances alone after the 42.5% of the luxury tax kicks in.

The next is the Yankees looked at what Betances was able to do for the team over the years. You can’t ignore the 500+ strikeouts over 5 seasons, but if he lost it, it took him too long to get it back. And missing most of last season with problems in his shoulder, to then bust his achilles last year… why would an analytics based team like the Yankees take that kind of risk on a 31, soon to be 32 year old?

I’m sorry to see Dellin go, but unless he can turn it around in a BIG way next season, 2019 was the last time we saw Betances in pinstripes.

New York Yankees: Should the Yankees pursue adding a reliever?

New York Yankees, Adam Ottavino

The New York Yankees are known to have one of the best, if not the best, bullpens in all of Major League Baseball. The “big five,” which includes Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottovino, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green are the reason why and rightly so.

According to ESPN.com, the New York Yankees were ranked the ninth-best bullpen in terms of numbers. They posted a 4.08 ERA and allowed a .242 opposing batting average. It’s important to note that because of the numerous pitching injuries the club had, a lot of the slack had to be picked up from the bullpen.

Even though the Yankees’ pitching problems primarily stem from the starting rotation, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check a reliever that available on the free-agent market.

Tyler Clippard, who’s already spent time with the Yankees, is someone who would make sense to add to the bullpen. Since the Yankees already have a number of guys who throw in the high 90s and can sometimes touch triple-digits, Clippard is a refreshing option coming from the bullpen.

During his 13 year tenure in the Major Leagues, Clippard is credited to a strong 3.14 career ERA while having posted a 2.90 ERA last season.

Pitching backward, Clippard mostly relies on his changeup and then works a low 90s four-seam fastball later in the count. He flashes an arsenal of pitches featuring a splitter, sinker, slider, and curve.

A two-time all-star at 34-years-old, a one or two year deal would make the most sense on both ends of the table. Clippard signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians last season for only $1,500,000, so the Yankees could probably be around that number as well. Strong talent for a low price is something to be considered especially when going after the top free-agent starting pitchers.

New York Yankees: Luis Severino Throws First Bullpen

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

New York Yankees’ ace Luis Severino finally stepped back on a mound Friday where he threw a 23-pitch bullpen. This session featured Severino’s fastball, changeup, and slider. After completing the bullpen, he used only one word to describe it – “perfect.” Severino continued to say, it was “better than expected. I threw a couple of changeups, the slider and everything was normal. I was expecting my secondary pitches to be a little off, but they were good.”

You can take a look at him throwing using this link:

https://www.mlb.com/yankees/video/severino-s-bullpen-session

Severino’s fluidity looks like it’s coming back to him. He looks strong and well maintained throwing off the mound. Severino believes it’ll take him about a month to fully get him to 100%, where he’s very optimistic about returning as a starter. With no more setbacks, manager Aaron Boone believes it is a very possible timetable. The first major indication would be that Severino comes back tomorrow with no pain following the bullpen.

He is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Monday, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Following his bullpens, the next step would be facing batters. This could take place in the minor leagues or a simulated game setting.

Severino’s last season with the Bombers landed himself finishing 9th in the Cy Young Award voting, where he finished 3rd the year prior. He finished with a 19-8 record and a 3.39 ERA (Baseball Reference).

I believe Severino will find himself back on the mound this season, either as a bullpen arm or a starter. He will use the month of September as a full spring training, where he’ll build himself up to be ready for the postseason. His pitch and inning count will definitely be monitored however I do think the New York Yankees will do anything possible to get him on the postseason roster – granted he healthy.

New York Yankees: Pitching is Kryptonite So Far

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees are definitely not off to their best start, as they sit 5-7 with a nine game homestand approaching. The Yankees are down just one reliever, but their all-star caliber bullpen has been awful so far.

3.97

That’s the current Yankee bullpen ERA. That’s about two earned runs per nine innings too high. With four all-star level pitchers healthy in Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman, Ottavino has been the only one with success, an ERA of 1.29 in seven innings pitched.

Chad Green is the most worrisome of the four. His ERA is at nine and has already been charged with two losses, including one against Houston.

Zack Britton has an ERA reaching towards five and has a loss too. Chapman is at 3.60, with his velocity still down a bit, but is expected to increase. His accuracy has improved from last year, only issuing one walk in five innings. His K/9 rate is still sky high at almost 13, which is obviously a good sign.

Though not one of their best relievers, Jonathan Holder has struggled, too, with an ERA of 5.40. He is a key guy in their bullpen, normally used in high-leverage situations in middle innings or extra innings.

The only real positive out of the bullpen so far is that Luis Cessa is pitching well. The Yankees are hoping this continues for him and the team. Remember, he is out of options so for him to go to AAA he must clear waivers.

Happ’s ready to bounce back

After a poor start on Wednesday by James Paxton, his ERA dropped to 6.00. Following him in the rotation is another starter whos’ ERA is in the sixes: JA Happ.

In two games, Happ is 0-1 and has pitched just eight and a third innings. This could potentially cause bullpen problems due to them having to pitch more than they should.

Last time out, he gave up five hits and two runs to the Orioles in a personal no decision, but a win for the team.

Friday against the White Sox would be the perfect time to get back on track and put one in his win column, as well as the team’s.