Now that White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech is out for the 2019 season, Dylan Cease has suddenly become more important for the rebuild.
The big question is whether or not he will be ready for the upcoming White Sox season as there will be at least two empty spots in the rotation in 2019.
In 2019, barring any unexpected trades, the rotation should consist of at least Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez. James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez will most likely enter free agency, as they are both eligible for it at the end of the 2018 season. And, Kopech will be out recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Even though Cease has had an outstanding minor league season, much of the focus has been on Kopech. Just a few days ago, Cease was actually named the MLB Pipeline’s Pitcher of the Year for his work in Class A Advanced and Double-A. This announcement was made via MLB.com’s Mike Rosenbaum.
Cease was added to the White Sox ever-growing list of outstanding prospects when Jose Quintana was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez was also acquired in that 2017 trade. Both Cease and Jimenez have been Top-50 prospects according to the MLB Pipeline. They are both in the top five of the ChiSox prospects list with Kopech, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal.
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Cease will be 23 years old in December. The 6’2, 190-pound right-handed pitcher has put up numbers that would make any MLB team proud. In his 10 starts with the Birmingham Barons, he finished the season with an ERA of 1.72 in 52.1 innings pitched. His 3-0 win-loss record was punctuated by 78 strikeouts and only 22 walks.
In all honesty, it would be nice to see Cease get some time in the Triple-A system. But, the Sox will need arms in 2019 and he is a key piece to the rebuild. He will certainly get to show if he is ready during Spring Training – more than he had in the 2018 season. He pitched in 6.1 innings in Spring Training in 2018. There, he posted a WHIP of 0.95. Batters averaged .143 against him in three scoreless starts.
If the White Sox have not called Cease up for the September call-ups, then they most likely will not. He’s not pitching for a minor league team as the season finished earlier in September and he is not scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
We, fans, most likely won’t know what’s happening with Cease and the White Sox until Spring Training. Hopefully, he will have a healthy off-season so he can ready for bigger and better things when pitchers and catchers show up in Arizona in February.