In 2012 the Astros summoned Xavier Cedeno from the bullpen a total of 44 times. The 26-year old lefty from Puerto Rico put together some pretty decent numbers in his 31 innings of work. He fared well against left-handed hitters and will come to Spring Training with an eye on making the team as a lefty specialist.
Cedeno doesn’t blow hitters away with his 89 m.p.h. fastball. Instead, he relies heavily on a sweeping curveball that is especially tough on lefties. Cedeno had a nice strikeout rate of 10.5 per nine innings, but his walk rate of 4.1 needs improvement.
Perhaps most encouraging about Cedeno are his batted ball numbers. In his rookie campaign of 2012 Cedeno posted an outstanding 50% groundball rate and his 15.5% line drive rate was stellar.
Cedeno faced almost an equal number of left-handed and right-handed hitters. He held lefties to a .213 average and right-handers batted .298 against him. Along with Wesley Wright, Cedeno gives the Astros the added flexibility of a second lefty in the bullpen. Cedeno often pitched in high leverage situations, finishing 12 games and saving one.
If he can cut down on the walks, Cedeno should be able to nail down a bullpen spot for the upcoming season. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.