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White Sox: Dylan Cease, the Spotlight is yours

Dylan Cease now owns the spotlight of White Sox pitching prospects at the minor league level, writes Sean Williams

After the promotion of Michael Kopech to Chicago, Dylan Cease is now the White Sox top pitching prospect, at least at the minor league level. Now, it’s time for Cease to be the talk of the White Sox pitching prospects, which he absolutely deserves.

When the White Sox acquired Dylan Cease in the Jose Quintana trade, most people did not know much about him aside from him being a raw prospect with the potential to develop into a decent starting pitcher. In the past, there was even some conversation that Cease could potentially become a closer if being a starter did not work out.

With the ascension of Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning last season, and with Lucas Giolito showing that he looked like a reliable starter in his first season with the White Sox, many pegged Dylan Cease as the odd man out in terms of earning a rotation spot in the future.

Dylan Cease, who started out his professional career with his back against the wall by having Tommy John surgery one month after he was a sixth round selection, has worked hard and developed into one of the most exciting pitching prospects not only in the White Sox organization, but in all of baseball.

When Dylan Cease was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft, he was considered a risky pick with it being known ahead of time that he would need Tommy John surgery. The talent was there, but Tommy John can be a career defeating procedure for pitchers, especially for those that throw in the mid to high 90s. However, Dylan Cease would not let one procedure determine his career as he worked his tail off to become the pitcher he is today.

In July of 2017, when Dylan Cease switched uniforms and headed to the South Side of Chicago, he was rated as the 77th overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s preseason rankings. By the end of the season, his stock would sky rocket as he moved up the rankings to the 58th overall prospect.

Cease’s first action with the White Sox in 2017 was not his most impressive, but it was not bad by any means either. In 9 starts with the Kannapolis Intimidators, Dylan Cease posted a 3.89 ERA with 52 strike outs and 18 walks in 41.2 innings pitched. Despite posting his worst ERA as a member of the White Sox organization, Dylan Cease’s stock continued to rise going into the next season.

After a successful 2018 Spring Training, Dylan Cease entered the season as the 61st overall prospect and now, he is currently the 44th overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Cease has spent time in both Winston-Salem and Birmingham during this season. The Dylan Cease we are seeing right now, is the best Dylan Cease that White Sox fans have seen so far.

Credit to: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

During the 2018 season, Dylan Cease has transcended into a prospect that will definitely have the opportunity to be a member of the White Sox starting rotation in the future. He has always had that opportunity, but now, he has given himself the chance to become a starter towards the top of the rotation.

While White Sox fans were investing their energy into demanding that Michael Kopech gets promoted to Chicago over the last few months, Dylan Cease went to work and put together an incredible stretch of starts while dominating Double-A this season.

Over his last 9 starts and dating back to July 1, Dylan Cease has a minuscule 0.95 ERA and has piled up 71 strikeouts and 12 walks in 47.2 innings pitched during that stretch. He has a 1.01 WHIP and a 12.7 K/9 this season, which are both his best numbers in those categories since joining the White Sox.

For being in Double-A for the first time in his career, Dylan Cease has put together some fantastic numbers. In 10 total starts for the Barons, Cease had only one start where he was roughed up and that was his first start with the team. Since then, he has given up one earned run or less in eight of those starts.

On August 17, in what was an odd night for the right-hander, Dylan Cease was chased out of the game after a 41 pitch first inning. He had trouble locating everything and was pulled for precautionary reasons. In his next start, he responded by ringing up 11 batters in five shutout innings, giving us a glimpse of the Dylan Cease we all know and love.

The rest of this season will be interesting with Cease, who has reached a career-high in innings pitched. He has showed that his arsenal is too overwhelming for Double-A hitters and could easily have just as much success in Triple-A. However, the Charlotte Knights might not get to add another flame thrower until next season because of the high amount of innings he has thrown this season.

As a draft prospect who had an electric fastball, but needed to work on finding consistency in his curveball and changeup, Dylan Cease has been able to complete that task throughout his young career which has helped him soar up the prospect rankings and has given him the potential to be a great pitcher for many years.

Dylan Cease has made the transition from a draft prospect who was once considered a risk, to a minor league prospect that has a top of the rotation ceiling. The White Sox have plenty of talented arms in the farm system at the minor league level and now, Dylan Cease is the cream of the crop and he has come a long way to get to that point.

Follow Sean on Twitter-Feature Photo Credit: Birmingham Barons/Twitter


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