Get To Know A National 2014: Xavier Cedeño

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Name: Xavier Cedeño
Nickname(s): None that I could find
DOB: August 26, 1986
Twitter?:  None that I could find
From: Guayanilla, Puerto Rico
Position: Relief Pitcher
Hand: Left
With the Nats Since: Selected off waivers by the Nationals from the Houston Astros on April 23, 2013.

Just Who Is This Guy?: Xavier Cedeño is a left-handed relief pitcher who made his Major League debut with the Houston Astros on September 16, 2011 at the age of 25. In his first relief appearance, he pitched 1/3 of an inning and gave up a hit.

According to the Brooks Baseball page on Cedeño , he has a four-pitch arsenal that ranges from the low 90s (fourseam fastball and cutter) to mid-80s (changeup) and a low-80s curveball.

What Happened in 2013: After being claimed off of waivers in April, Cedeño was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse where he pitched until he was called up for a brief stint in June 2013 (two appearances) before he was sent back down to Syracuse again. When rosters expanded in August, he was brought back up and made nine more appearances out of the bullpen, giving him 11 total appearances on the season for the Nationals. Cedeño pitched a total of six innings, giving up five hits and one earned run. He struck out six batters and only walked one. It’s interesting that while he was with Houston, Cedeño  pitched 6.1 innings and got shelled to the tune of a 11.37 ERA in only five games, but was lights out for the Nationals.

Coming from the American League to the National League, mixed with some fine-tuning in the Minors really seems like it turned Cedeño’s season around. With Syracuse, he appeared in 39 games, going 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 34.1 innings and even notched four saves. He only allowed 23 hits, 11 runs (five earned) and had an 11.8 K/9 ratio. This could be one of those cases where the player has all the tools necessary to succeed, but just needs a change of scenery in order to achieve that success. It’s definitely a small sample size to work with, but it’s worth watching for the rest of this season.

What’s happening in 2014 so far?: Cedeño has spent the majority of his time in Syracuse again this season, but has one appearance with the Nationals on April 21, 2014. In that game, it only took him 15 pitches to go 1.1 innings but gave up two hits along the way. As of June 6, Cedeño has picked up where he left off last season, owning a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He has 16 strikeouts, has only issued three walks and given up seven hits with Syracuse.

If he can keep turning it around in the minors and accomplish the same success in the Majors once he gets called back up, he has the chance to be a valuable asset to an already strong Nationals bullpen.

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