Born: January 26, 1996
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 191
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2015, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A


Cesar has been referred to in some places as Joel Cesar Toribio, but he apparently prefers to be known just as Joel Cesar.  The Pirates signed him at age 19 because he was showing very good velocity, especially given his height.  After they signed him, he hit 100 mph, which got noticed by Baseball America.  He was extremely raw, though, with poor control.  In games, his velocity sits closer to the mid-90s, frequently hitting 96-97.

DSL:  0-0-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 9.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

The Pirates had Cesar working as a starter in his DSL debut and he got hurt in his second start.  It must not be too serious, as they invited him to fall instructional league.  In his brief action, he showed the expected control problems.

A-:  1-1-7, 3.67 ERA, 1.26 ERA, 27.0 IP, 6.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

The Pirates brought Cesar to fall instructionals in 2016 and, by spring training, his control had improved.  He was throwing more in the mid-90s but still missing bats, and showed an improved slider.  Despite his inexperience, the Pirates sent him to Morgantown, where he mainly served as the closer.  He pitched well in June and July, giving up just two earned runs, seven hits and six walks in 15 innings, with 19 strikeouts.  August was a different story, as Cesar allowed nine earned runs, nine hits and ten walks in nine and a third innings, while striking out only four.  He pitched much better in three September outings.  Cesar had little trouble with right-handed batters over the course of the season, limiting them to a 130/277/167 line.  Left-handed hitters were more of a problem, hitting 209/346/395 against him.

A:  2-1-3, 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 54.1 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Cesar came into 2017 very raw, with almost no pro experience, and pitched reasonably well against generally more experienced players.  The Pirates moved him up to West Virginia in 2018 and he pitched often two innings at a time, occasionally three or four.  He made progress over 2017, with much better control.  He was especially better after a rough first month, when he walked ten in 9.2 IP and allowed eight earned runs.  Cesar this time was very tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .520 OPS.  Right-handed hitters managed a .681 figure.

A+:  2-0-5, 0.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.7 K/9
AA:  3-4-1, 3.76 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 38.1 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

Cesar started the season at Bradenton, but he blew away the hitters there and the Pirates promoted him after nine games.  He pitched in one- and two-inning stints for Altoona, and for some reason went a week or more between outings on a number of occasions.  He was more solid than anything there, showing continuing improvement with his control, while opponents batted .260 and hit a HR every seven and a half innings.  He had no platoon split.

Cesar has moved up very quickly.  Despite the early hype, he doesn’t have the same stuff as, say, Blake Cederlind.  He’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but it’s doubtful he’d be selected.

2020: Minor League Contract
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2022
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2019
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
October 30, 2015: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.