The Chicago White Sox could have a very good starting rotation as soon as this season and one arm, in particular, could help expedite its success in 2020.
Dylan Cease, though, could prove to be the X-factor that makes or breaks the 2020 rotation.
Cease, 24, made four starts in spring training this season and his performance was mediocre as he allowed four runs over nine innings of work, including two home runs. He also struck out 11 batters, walked three, and hit two.
Results in spring training could mean literally nothing on their own, but Cease showed some difficulty adjusting to the majors last season when he came up, but also exemplified the promise he could have in 2020 and beyond.
In 2019, Cease had a 5.79 ERA, 5.19 FIP, 1.548 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and 4.3 BB/9 over 14 starts (73 major league innings).
While those statistics left a lot to be desired, Cease did have his best stretch of starts in the month of September as he had a 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and .211 average against him during the season’s final month.
Another good sign for Cease is that he made it through five innings or more in all but two of his starts last season, including six that were six innings or more.
That is something many young pitchers destined for failure struggle to do, so it is good that he was able to at least eat some innings.
Cease believes that this experience he had in 2019 could really help him in 2020, as detailed by Scott Merkin of MLB.com.
"“It’s just throwing every day, feeling out your body, lifting, shoulder care — all the little things we do,” Cease said. “Basically, I’m not doing anything different than I was last year. It’s just I have that experience, and I’m going to continue to build on it.”"
A reason he might’ve struggled overall in 2019 is due to the innings he racked up last season, throwing a career-high 141 1/3 innings between Triple-A Charlotte and his time in the South Side.
That number was after throwing 124 innings in the year prior. So, after combining for 162 innings in his first three seasons with the Chicago White Sox organization, Cease tossed 265 innings over the last two seasons.
The Chicago White Sox will certainly hope that Dylan Cease just needs to adjust to the innings workload expected of a major league starter and that he can break out this season.