White Sox Scorecard: I Heard This Cease Guy Ain’t Half Bad

Dylan Cease came over to the White Sox from the Cubs in exchange for Jose Quintana. The Cubs also gave the White Sox Eloy Jimenez. Since going to the Cubs, Quintana’s ERA has bounced between 3.50 and 6.75. Quintana is having his best year since then, in 2022, with an ERA of 3.37 and he is already on his 3rd team of the year (St. Louis currently). Likewise, Dylan Cease is enjoying his best year ever as well. Since 2019, his ERA has steadily declined from 5.79, to 4.01, 3.91, and this year’s 1.98. Over the last two months, Cease is having one of the best runs of any pitcher ever (think Jake Arrieta in second half 2015 -.75 ERA / first half 2016).

No matter how you spin the statistics, Cease’s number speak Cy Young. In his last 7 games, he has a .86 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 41.2 innings. In his last 15 games, he has a 1.28 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 84 innings pitched. In June, he had a .33 ERA and a .192 batting average against in 27.1 innings. He had 45 strikeouts in those 27 innings. In July, he did twice as bad as he did in June, sporting a .76 ERA. But his WHIP and batting average against declined since June, 1.04 and .188 respectively. His innings increased as he started going deeper in games, with 35.2 IP. He added 40 more strikeouts in July.

The result is that he was Pitcher of the Month in both June and July. The last pitcher to win consecutive Pitcher of the Month awards was Gerrit Cole in 2019 with Houston. He has set the record for the most starts in MLB history and giving up 1 or less runs at 13, just edging out Jacob DeGrom who had the record at 12.  He could extend his record on Thursday, August 11 to 14 against the Royals. He is second in ERA to Justin Verlander (probably the front runner for Cy Young), he is tied for third in wins with Alek Manoah and Jose Urias, fourth in batting average against behind Burnes, Shane McClanahan, and Verlander, and he is third in strikeouts behind Gerrit Cole and Corbin Burnes. There is no facet of the game that he isn’t excelling at right now, though he wasn’t invited to the All-Star game.

Cease is using a fairly wide arsenal to get the job done.  In the most recent past (last eight games), he is using the fastball 35% of the time (which he throws in the upper 90’s), slider at 51%, curve at 12%, and change at 2%. Ninety-seven strikeouts on the slider is an MLB best for one pitch. With his 166 strikeouts, he has walked 53 as he continues to improve his location.

Cease’s ascension to MLB greatness is fairly normal.  After an injury his senior year at Milton High School in Georgia, he fell in the draft but the Cubs still took him in the sixth round in 2014. He played rookie ball in Arizona in 2015 and Class A in 2016. After the trade to the White Sox, Cease continued in Single A in 2017 and 2018, and was promoted in 2018 to AA. In 2019, he was promoted to AAA and executed his MLB debut July with the White Sox.

And he is a fairly normal guy in interviews. Sporting his current mustache, call it Freddie Mercury or Matthew McConaughey, he very clearly explains his approach to pitching, confidently describes his different pitches, and excitedly talks about his bee-keeping hobby.

And though he made a statement in 2021 with 266 strikeouts, the talk of the 2022 rotation was always Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn. Very quickly, the discussion turned toward Michael Kopech who had a 1.17 ERA through May and a very solid 2.78 ERA at the end of June. Cease didn’t seem too concerned with the All-Star snub or the lack of attention. But all eyes are on him now as he tries to steal the Cy Young from Verlander.

Author

  • Larry Goldman

    Larry spends his nights and days watching, researching, and writing about sports in Chicago and the national conversation.

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