Chicago White Sox: Grading Dylan Cease’s 2020 season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

2020 was an interesting year for Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox.

Everyone who watches baseball rationally knew right away that the Chicago White Sox absolutely fleeced the Chicago Cubs when they traded Jose Quintana to the North Side. The White Sox received Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and two other prospects in the process. To be honest, the White Sox already won the trade the second Eloy Jimenez stepped on a Major League field so Dylan Cease turning into a star pitcher would really just add salt in the wound.

Jimenez was as polished a hitter as any young prospect has been in the history of the team. He has the potential to be one of the five or six best power hitters in the league. He is already almost there and hasn’t even scratched the surface of his true potential. Dylan Cease isn’t a star yet but he has the command to be a really good pitcher one day. The fact that Jose Quintana was below average for them really makes the White Sox look good as well.

Cease is showing a lot of promise but there are clear command issues. That is so normal for a pitcher as talented as him at this stage of their career. When you get to the big leagues, you can just simply rely on stuff. You have to attack hitters with your stuff in specific ways. The hope is that he can become that good really soon. It should be coming based on the patterns of the other young pitchers across the league.

2020 was an up and down year for Cease. He was the type of pitcher that got himself into jams a lot but figured out a way to get out of it more often than not. His rookie season (2019) ERA was a pretty high 5.79 and he improved it to 4.01 in 2020. It is still (slightly) above four but we want to see him get it down more. His WHIP, however, was 1.440 in 2020 which speaks to the theory about him getting into jams.

You have to think that if he gets that WHIP down, the ERA will come down. It also makes sense to think that his record of 5-4 will become even better as well. The White Sox have a lot of faith in his development and rightfully so.

2020 grade: C+

A lot of people might want to rip on Cease and give him a lower grade because of the fact that there hasn’t been instant gratification. He is clearly taking time to develop but he has shown a lot of that. The stuff is there and he still has a lot of time to improve. The C+ grade is very fitting for his level of development along with the production he had in 2020. Expect a much higher grade in 2021.

The perfect 2021 Chicago White Sox lineup. light. Hot

2021 outlook:

They say that you can judge a newer MLB pitcher after 30 starts. He has made 26 so you might see five or six more mediocre starts before we start to see the real Dylan Cease. He should see that number around mid-May of 2021. The fact that he was 5-4 in 2020 just shows what he might be able to do by the time that he is fully developed.

The White Sox acquired Lance Lynn in a trade with the Texas Rangers. He is probably going to form a trio at the top of the rotation with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel. That will lower Dylan Cease in the rotation and that might help him even more. If he and Michael Kopech are able to round out the rotation and take that next step, this could be one of the best rotations in all of baseball.