White Sox pitching prospects will enter an important 2019 for their development as they get closer to making their major league debuts.
The Chicago White Sox have a lot of pitching depth in their farm system. There are many pitchers that could be ready to take the next step in their careers and pitch for the Sox in 2019. However, there are two pitching prospects that could have an immediate impact once promoted to the Majors.
Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning, who were both acquired in separate trades, will have an important year in their respective developments in 2019. For Dunning, his return from injury will be vital for his success next season. Cease, the Sox highest ranked pitching prospect outside of Michael Kopech, could find himself in Chicago next September.
Either Cease or Dunning could be pitching in the Majors in 2019, but next season will be more about their continued development in the minors. Dunning missed the second half of this past season after being placed on the disabled list in late-June with an elbow strain.
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The 24-year-old right-hander made just 15 combined starts with High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 2018. Dunning had 11 starts with the Barons and compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 62 innings pitched.
Dunning’s career-high of innings pitched in a single season is 144 in 2017. This past season, Dunning only pitched 86.1 total innings with the Dash and Barons. With the Sox not rushing prospects, Dunning could very well end the 2019 season in the minors. If he’s able to finish a full year in the minors, he could be better off waiting until 2020 to make his major league debut.
Cease, on the other hand, is closer to making his major league debut than Dunning but will still need more development. The 22-year-old pitcher was placed on the Sox 40-man roster in November after an impressive 2018 campaign with Winston-Salem and Birmingham.
In 23 combined starts with the Dash and the Barons, Cease had a 12-2 record with a 2.40 ERA, 160 strikeouts and a 1.06 WHIP. Cease went 3-0 with the Barons in 10 starts with a 1.72 ERA, 78 strikeouts and a 0.99 WHIP.
Entering 2019, Cease could start the season with Triple-A Charlotte once Spring Training is over. Cease’s development next season will be important for the Sox. He could make an immediate impact once promoted but will need to remain consistent in the minors before then. Cease and Dunning both have what it takes to be solid pitchers at the major league level. 2019 will be important for both young men and should be an exciting season for Sox fans following the prospects through the minors.