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Luis Cessa flashes promise in first Mud Hens' start

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Despite giving up eight earned runs, the Tigers' ninth-ranked prospect featured a plus fastball that could lift him to the next level.

Austin Henry - Toledo Mud Hens

His final line wasn't pretty, but at times, his stuff on the mound was. Wednesday night, taking on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Luis Cessa made his Detroit Tigers' organizational debut. Cessa, clad in the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens' "cracked egg" promotional uniforms, gave up eight runs in five innings. In addition to that, he gave up nine hits, walked two batters, and struck out three. Like I said, his final line was not pretty.

However, Cessa, who was acquired from the Mets along with Michael Fulmer, showed flashes of solid pitching despite the lackluster results. After just one outing, it's not hard to see that the 6'3" right hander is a fastball pitcher. His command of the number-one was shaky to start the game, but it got much better as the game went on. A little over anxious to get back out on the mound? Only he knows that. Regardless, he gave up four runs in the first inning, but settled in after.

For the first 60 pitches, he sat between 92-95 mph with his fastball touching 96-97 multiple times, along with some nice arm-side run. Like I said, the command was much better after the first inning. Cessa was spotting his fastball at the low corners in innings two through five, resulting in weak ground balls. I didn't count the amount of whiffs he had on his fastball (I'm not a legitimate scout), but it definitely produced quite a few off balance swings.

In terms of fastball dominance, one at bat in particular stuck out to me. Facing the left handed hitting Logan Moore in the fourth inning, Cessa started him out with a 94 MPH fastball that he fouled off. He came back with 96 on the inside part of the plate that Moore flailed at. To finish him off, Cessa reached back for 97 that he spotted on the outside corner for a helpless swing and a miss. Pure dominance.

Just as advertised, Cessa's secondary pitches lagged behind his fastball. In the first inning, it was hard to find a distinguishable difference between his curveball and change up. Again though, both pitches got better after getting the first inning under his belt. At its best, his curveball was around 87 mph with a tight spin. It's not a loopy breaking ball, but it's enough to keep a hitter off balance. His change up sat between 81-84 mph with some downward movement, but the command of it was spotty all night.

In the fifth inning after reaching the 65 pitch plateau, Cessa started to fall into the same pattern that got him hurt in the first inning. His fastball velocity slightly dipped to around 91-93 mph, and the command and arm-side run started to disappear. Still, he was able to juice it up to 96 three times, though the command was all but gone at that point. He started to hang more breaking balls, and the IronPigs tagged him for four more runs.

Wednesday night's start for Cessa seemed like a microcosm of every scouting report on him. Good, firm fastball with life, shoddy secondary pitches, and the inability to maintain his stuff deep into the game. He's definitely a work in progress, but the plus fastball he flashed shows why the Tigers wanted him. Then again, what the hell do I know? I'm not a scout.