After being declined an invite to the All-Star game, Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease may get the last laugh on those who made the team selections by winning a Cy Young Award in the same season.
Cease has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the American League this year and is in the mix as a frontrunner for the league’s top pitching prize along with Houston’s Justin Verlander and Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan.
Based on how Verlander has returned from Tommy John surgery and is tops in wins (15), earned run average (1.73), WAR for pitchers (4.0), and walks per nine innings (1.592), not only could he bring home the Cy Young, but he’s probably the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year as well.
However, Cease has put up some nice numbers of his own which have not only kept the White Sox afloat in the race for the Central Division crown but earned him consecutive AL Pitcher of the Month awards for June and July. He is the first White Sox pitcher to accomplish that feat in the same season.
Dylan Cease has been elite for the White Sox this season and is getting better.
Cease came into the start vs the Texas Rangers first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.42) and second in WAR (3.7), ERA (2.01), and strikeouts (161). He didn’t hurt his numbers as he had yet another dominant game that led to a 2-1 win.
What Cease has also done is put up some historic numbers that attached his name to pitching royalty. Cease joined Bob Gibson as the only pitcher in baseball history to record only three earned runs in an 11-game span.
He joined Gibson and Jack Coombs as the only pitchers to have nine consecutive starts of five innings or more in which the opposition scored no more than one run.
To further illustrate just how special a year Cease is having, statistic enthusiast Jay Cuda has come up with some information that would support Cease’s Cy Young case:
- through his first 19 starts of the season, Cease is the only pitcher in MLB history to post 150+ strikeouts, 80 or fewer hits, and 25 or fewer runs.
- Cease’s 12 starts to include 8+ strikeouts and one or fewer earned runs in the first half of a season is tops over Randy Johnson (11), Carlos Rodon, Chris Sale, and Sandy Koufax (10).
- His 150+ strikeouts and less than 80 hits in the first half join a list made up of Verlander, Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez, and Pedro Martinez.
- Cease’s 150+ strikeouts and sub-2.15 ERA in the first half by pitchers in the first five years of their careers joins the likes of Dwight Gooden, Vida Blue, Luis Tiant, and Walter Johnson.
- Cease joined Jacob deGrom, Martinez, and Tiant as the only pitchers to have 150+ strikeouts and 25 or fewer earned runs in first 20 starts.
- As of July 24th, Cease’s 10 starts of zero earned runs were tops over Verlander, Tarik Skubal, and Michael Kopech (7).
- Cease became the third pitcher in baseball history behind Walter Johnson and Ed Walsh in 1910 with 80+ strikeouts, 50 or fewer hits, and three or fewer hits in an 11-game span.
- Cease is the only American League pitcher to ever have 160+ strikeouts and allow less than 30 earned runs and fewer than 90 hits through his first 21 starts this season.
- Cease is the only AL pitcher over the last 110 years to have consecutive months of 40+ strikeouts and an ERA lower than 1.00
One area that hurts Cease’s case is the amount of walks he has allowed. Heading into the series with the Rangers, Cease leads the AL with 50 free passes and will need to cut down on that to impress the voters.
Still, Cease has a good case for taking home the award should he continue putting up the numbers he has. It will be tough because Verlander and McClanahan are pitching exceptionally well, yet if one or both of them stumble, Cease could be the guy taking home the award.