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Chicago White Sox: Is Dylan Cease the next Tom Glavine?

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 26: Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 26: Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago White Sox have a pitcher in Dylan Cease that could go on to have a really nice career. Could he end up like Tom Glavine?

Hall of Famer Tom Glavine is recognized as one of the greatest pitchers of all time and a centerpiece of those great Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990s. He was the MVP of the 1995 World Series when the Atlanta Braves won their only championship. It makes people forget that in Glavine’s first full season, he looked like anything but a star. You could argue he started the same way as Chicago White Sox pitcher, Dylan Cease.

After going 2-4 in 9 games during the 1987 season with a 5.54 ERA, Glavine spent his first full season in 1988 getting hit around a bit. His record was 7-17, with a .456 ERA, .292 winning percentage (easily a career-low), and 111 runs given up (tied for second-most in a single season during his 22-year career). It didn’t help that the Braves only won 54 games in 1988 and didn’t offer much run support but by looking at his first-year numbers it would be difficult to predict the success that was to come.

Fast forward to 2019, and Dylan Cease, given the expectations placed upon him, has had about as inauspicious a start as Glavine. Following a 6-2 loss to Minnesota on Friday night, Cease dropped his record to 1-3 with a .686 ERA. He’s lost 3 games since his MLB debut, a win against Detroit in which he settled down after giving up two runs in the first inning. He’s allowed 22 hits in 21 innings, along with 16 earned runs.

As Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times said:

"“No doubt about it, the Sox’ No. 3-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has work to do to command his pitches, especially his breaking stuff. Cease’s curveball — potentially a devastating weapon, with all the drop in the world — was all over the place early in the game.”"

Cease’s struggles, some may argue, are a microcosm for a disappointing start to the second half of the season in which the White Sox, playing near .500 before the All-Star break, have stumbled to a 4-13 record. However, in the long run, the Sox may have nothing to worry about. As an old saying in coaching goes, “If that’s the worst that’s going to happen, we’re going to be in good shape going forward.”

In his article “Another start, another bad inning, but ‘if anybody’s worried about Dylan Cease, I wouldn’t be'”, Vinnie Duber quoted James McCann as saying:

"“I do think he made strides in this start, and unfortunately the results don’t show it. But I think we’re on the right track…Every guy’s going to have a learning curve, and I think he again showed awesome composure and found a way to get through five after a tough second inning.”"

Does any of this directly suggest that Dylan Cease will be as good as Tom Glavine? Not necessarily. Yet, that’s not 100% the point. The point is that regardless of the first few games of a player’s career, there’s plenty of time for improvement.

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When his career is over, Dylan Cease may never be in the same sentence as Tom Glavine. Hopefully, he will be but there are very few players who can say that or else the Hall of Fame would include a lot more players. Yet, just like Lucas Giolito, Cease can show the improvement that a lot of Sox fans hope to see. If all goes well, the team and Cease will both start to improve simultaneously.

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