Reds report card: Grading Luis Cessa’s 2021 season

CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 04: Luis Cessa #85 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 04: Luis Cessa #85 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Luis Cessa, one of Nick Krall’s key additions at the July 30th trade deadline, appeared in 24 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2021. The former New York Yankee came over in a deal that also brought Justin Wilson from the Bronx to the Queen City. Let’s put a grade on Cessa’s 2021 season with the Redlegs.

In exchange for Cessa and Wilson, the Reds sent cash and a player to be named later to the Yankees. That PTBNL eventually became known, as Cincinnati shipped right-handed pitcher Jason Parker to the Big Apple. Parker was a 16th-round pick of the Reds back in 2019.

The Cincinnati bullpen was in shambles before the arrival of Cessa, Wilson, and eventually Mychal Givens as well. David Bell was forced to rely upon the likes of Heath Hembree and Brad Brach in key situations. That’s certainly not ideal for a team that was pushing for a spot in the playoffs.

Grading Luis Cessa’s 2021 season with the Reds.

Let’s look at what Luis Cessa did during his abbreviated stint with the Cincinnati Reds, shall we? After posting a 2.82 ERA with 31 punch outs over 38.1 innings with the New York Yankees, Cessa recorded 23 strikeouts in 26.1 innings and a sparkling 2.05 ERA with the Redlegs.

Cessa went 11.1 innings, from August 28th through September 20th, without allowing a single run to cross the plate. The right-hander fanned 11 hitters during that span, allowed just three hits and zeros walks.

Cessa’s time with Cincinnati this season was fueled by his tendency to keep the bases clear. In his 24 games following the trade, Cessa posted a 2% walk-rate, allowing just two free passes over 26.1 innings. That’s outstanding.

The home run wasn’t something Luis Cessa succumbed to either, giving up just three long balls in his 24 appearances. Cessa also went more than one inning on six different occasions during his time with the Reds in 2021. Cessa did that 11 times while playing for the Bronx Bombers, meaning he went longer than one inning in 17 of his 53 appearances on the season.

Let’s a put a grade on Luis Cessa’s 2021 performance with the Cincinnati Reds. Remember, we’re not taking into consideration the time he spent with the New York Yankees, just his 24 games in a Cincinnati uniform. Cessa’s 2021 season deserves a B+.

The right-hander came into a situation where David Bell and the coaching staff needed a reliever they could lean on, and Cessa provided that. Mychal Givens was the biggest acquisition for the bullpen at the trade deadline, but Cessa is under team control for two more seasons while Givens will enter free agency this winter.

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Luis Cessa is bound to be in position to elevate his standing in the bullpen and will likely see more high-leverage situations next season. There’s an outside chance the Reds decide to move Cessa into the rotation, but that seems unlikely.