Dylan Cease
23-Year-Old PitcherRP
Chicago White Sox AA
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Blessed with special arm speed, Cease has had a high-leverage reliever floor (with reasonable health) since entering pro ball, but in 2018 he made massive strides to show that his future may be atop a rotation. He tallied over 100 innings (124) for the first time, notched a career-best 3.6 BB/9 and improved his secondary pitches. His mid-90s fastball touches 98 mph and was more of a worm killer last year (1.14 GO/AO) than in 2017 (0.88 GO/AO). Cease's curveball is his second-best pitch -- a potentially plus offering -- and his changeup emerged as a viable third pitch, thanks largely to the strength of his fastball. His command may never be better than fringe average, but with his stuff, it doesn't need to be. The most impressive aspect of Cease's season was that he improved after his promotion to Double-A, posting career bests in FIP (1.72), WHIP (0.99) and K-BB% (27.7). He should open at Triple-A and could make his big-league debut this summer. Read Past Outlooks
Contract purchased
PChicago White Sox  AA
November 20, 2018
Cease was added to the 40-man roster Tuesday.
With that, the White Sox protected Cease from the Rule 5 draft. He was named the Minor-League Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline following an impressive showing across stops at High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 2018 (2.40 ERA with 160 strikeouts over 123 frames).
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Cease is entering his age-22 season, has never pitched above Low-A and has never logged more than 93.1 innings in a season. Yet, his stuff is some of the filthiest in the minors. The 6-foot-2 righty sits in the mid-90s and can touch triple digits with his fastball. He also throws a curveball that can look like a monster putaway pitch when it's on. His changeup is a distant third pitch, but that's hardly the biggest knock on his chances of making it as a starter. He has been coddled ever since the Cubs drafted him in the sixth round in 2014. Cease was the secondary piece the White Sox received when they sent Jose Quintana across town, and he had to be shut down at the end of the season with shoulder fatigue. While he made significant strides with his command and control last season, that area of his game is still a weakness. His fragility and command issues point to a future as an impactful late-inning arm, but even that outcome requires patience.
The minor leagues are lighter on high probability impact talent than they have been in recent years, so this may be a good time to gamble on a player with extreme upside and extreme risk. Cease fits the bill. He has the potential for two monster pitches, yet his fringe-average changeup, below-average control and significant durability concerns should scare off most risk-averse owners. Prospect aficionados are aware of his fastball that sits in the upper-90s and can touch 101 mph with some armside run. He also features a potentially plus curveball that can be devastating when hitters sit on his heater. However, his to-do list for 2017 is long and arduous. Atop that list is improving his command and control after walking 13.7 percent of short-season batters. Cease, who underwent Tommy John surgery after the Cubs drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, also needs to build up his workload and show more feel for his changeup. His potential outcomes range from frontline starter to high-leverage reliever. This is a very exciting young arm.
A sixth-round pick in 2014, Cease made his pro debut last year for the rookie-level Cubs after missing 2014 following Tommy John surgery. With 25 strikeouts and a .145 BAA in 24 innings, he holds some promise. However, he walked 16 and hit two more, so he has a long way to go. He's still just 20 though, so he has time and the Cubs will be patient with him. Cease has a very high ceiling (he can touch 100 mph), but he's a risk given his prior elbow problems and control issues. However, that frontline upside makes him someone worth gambling on in dynasty leagues that roster 200 prospects. He may not make it to a full-season league in 2016, but the training wheels should come off in 2017, at which point he could start cruising up the organizational ladder.
More Fantasy News
Earns award from MLB Pipeline
PChicago White Sox  AA
September 7, 2018
Cease was named Minor-League Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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Reaches innings limit
PChicago White Sox  AA
August 24, 2018
The White Sox decided to shut down Cease for 2018 to limit his innings, James Fegan of The Athletic Chicago reports.
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Scoreless streak ends
PChicago White Sox  AA
August 11, 2018
Cease allowed one run on two hits and five walks while striking out six over 5.2 innings for Double-A Birmingham on Friday.
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Runs scoreless streak to 23 frames
PChicago White Sox  AA
August 5, 2018
Cease threw six scoreless innings for Double-A Birmingham on Saturday, striking out nine while allowing one hit and no walks.
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Dominant in Wednesday's win
PChicago White Sox  AA
July 26, 2018
Cease retired the first 20 batters faced before allowing a hit in the seventh inning for Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday. He allowed the one hit and a walk while striking out 12 over seven innings.
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