Milwaukee Brewers: How has Xavier Cedeno worked out?
By Paul Bretl
The Milwaukee Brewers made a number of moves in the second half of the season to help get this team to the playoffs. Perhaps the least talked about was the acquisition via trade of Xavier Cedeno, the left handed reliever from the Chicago White Sox.
Xavier Cedeno was one of three players acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers on the August 31st waiver trade deadline. Other deals also included pitcher Gio Gonzalez from the Nationals and outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Toronto Blue Jays.
In order to get Cedeno, Milwaukee had to give up 19-year-old outfielder, Bryan Connell and 22-year-old pitcher, Johan Dominguez. Connell spent the 2018 season playing in the Pioneer League for the Helena Brewers. Dominguez was also at the lowest level, but in the Arizona League.
Where has Cedeno fit into the bullpen?
The addition of Cedeno, as well as some September call ups from Triple-A, left the Milwaukee Brewers with a number of options out of the bullpen for this final stretch. But Cedeno has found his role with this team and it is as the left-handed specialist, a job that was previously held by Dan Jennings.
Jennings had been up and down for most of the year, but his recent struggles in big moments were tough to ignore. Over his previous five appearances, he has faced eight batters and given up four hits. One of his biggest blunders occurred when he gave up a home run to Scooter Gennett in the ninth inning of a tied game, that the Brewers eventually lost. All of these outings have come against lefties, the exact batter that Jennings is supposed to specialize in getting out.
Cedeno’s time in Milwaukee
Since arriving to the Milwaukee Brewers, Cedeno has relied on two main pitches, a cut fastball and a curveball. He also has the change-up as an option, but rarely throws it. His cutter maxes out in the upper 80s, and he can get a lot of swings and misses with that pitch. He throws a hard curve that can get close to 80 mph, and dives at the plate.
A strength of Cedeno’s pitching is that he is able to locate both of those pitches down in the strike zone. This generates a number of ground balls, and he rarely gives up a home run. On the season, Cedeno has given up just one long ball. That’s an ability that works well in the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park.
As it sits now, Cedeno will stay in this role for the rest of the season. Manager Craig Counsell has been using him as a bridge to Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress when facing a lefty-heavy lineup. Counsell has also shown his confidence in Cedeno by giving him the ball in crucial moments in the seventh or eighth innings of games.
Cedeno has been a good acquisition by GM David Stearns. The Milwaukee Brewers gave up little capital, and Cedeno can help the team with their postseason push.