When San Diego State RHP Michael Cederoth took the mound for the first time at Tony Gwynn Stadium three seasons ago, it appeared as if the Aztecs had found someone who had the potential to be the next Stephen Strasburg (former Aztec and current Washington Nationals strikeout maven). Fast forward to Cederoth's junior year and it now appears as if the Aztecs have produced the next potential Addison Reed (former Aztec and current Arizona Diamondbacks' closer).
An Intimidating Closer
The 6'6" Cederoth from San Diego (Steel Canyon HS) became the Aztecs No. 1 starter only a few weeks into his freshman year. He maintained that role all the way into his Junior year at San Diego State. Cederoth's intimidating mound presence combined with his consistent high 90s fastball (has thrown 100 mph) helped him achieve some success as a starter, especially in the strikeout category. His 109 strikeouts as a sophomore led the Mountain West. After one start this season, however, he was quickly converted to the closer role. That turned out to be a shrewd move by the Aztec coaching staff as Cederoth turned in a memorable season that resulted in him becoming one of the most feared closers in all of college baseball and the most recent of only five Aztecs to be named a first-team Louisville Slugger All-American.
Addison Reed Comparison
Since moving to the closer role, he was 6-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 20 saves (6-2, 2.28 ERA overall), tying Addison Reed's 2009 saves record. Like Reed, Cederoth averages over one strikeout per inning pitched. Reed has 80 saves in just over 2 full seasons in the majors. Cederoth has the potential to someday post those kinds of numbers for the Twins.
The Next Level
It was this kind of performance that kept Cederoth as a Top 50 prospect by most scouting services. The 2014 draft is a pitching rich draft as 41 of the first 74 players selected were pitchers. Even so, he had been forecasted to be selected late in the first round or somewhere in the draft's second or possibly third round. Of note, Cederoth was originally selected in the 41st round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Diamondbacks.
Aside from his near triple digit mph fastball, he also features a legitimate slider and change-up that can translate to the next level. As Cederoth gains consistency with his location, there is a chance he could find his way back into a starting rotation, but as of now, consensus is that the hard throwing closer role suits him best.
On Friday night, during the draft's first round, the Twins had selected Louisville's Nick Burdi (5th overall pick), another right handed fireballer. With the selections of Burdi and Cederoth, the Twins may have picked up the two hardest throwers of the 2014 MLB Draft. It appears the Twins have placed a significant focus on enhancing their late inning relief.