Cease to Exist - Submission is a Gift

Sam Koenig lofted a two-run double over the centerfielder's head with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied to tie the Cubs 2-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, AZ. 

Kevonte Mitchell tripled, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs.  

RHSP Dylan Cease got the start for the Cubs and was dominating, easily retiring the first eleven Angels he faced (K, 3-U, K, 5-3, K, 3-U, 1-3, 4-3, K, K, 3-U) and firing four innings of one-hit shutout ball (the one hit being a ground single to CF with two outs in the bottom of the 4th). He issued no walks, struck out five, and posted a 7/0 GO/AO (seven weak-contact GO). None of the Angel batters hit the ball in the air against him. 

Cease's fastball sat consistenly at 98-99 MPH from the gitgo, and he threw his 79-81 MPH curve for strikes time-after-time, mixing it effectively with his heater. He also threw one or two change-ups.

Cease threw 64% strikes (the highest percentage of strikes thrown in a game by Cease so far in his pro career - minimum 30 pitches), and not only did he not walk anyone, he went to three balls on only three of the 13 batters he faced. (I've actually seen Cease outings where he went to three balls on every batter he faced). 

Today's outing may have been the most-dominating performance of Cease's pro career, rivaling his eye-popping ("Is that Arrieta?") outing versus the Brewers a couple of weeks ago.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):  

CUBS LINEUP
1a. D. J. Wilson, CF: 0-2 (K, 3-1) 
1b. Jose Gonzalez, PH-CF: 1-2 (K, 1B, R)
2a. Yonathan Perlaza, 2B: 0-1 (BB, K, CS)
2b. Edgar Rondon, PH-2B: 0-2 (6-3, K)
3a. Kevonte Mitchell, LF: 1-1 (BB, 3B, R, CS)
3b. Kwang-Min Kwon, PH-LF: 1-2 (K, 1B)
4a. Chris Pieters, 1B: 0-2 (K, E-7)
4b. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 2-2 (1B, 1B+E6) 
5a. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, 3-U)
5b. Rafael Mejia, 3B: 0-2 (K, K)
6a. Marcus Mastrobuoni, C: 0-2 (5-3, P-4)
6b. Tyler Payne, C: 0-1 (4-3, BB)
7a. Vimael Machin, DH #1: 1-2 (1B, E-6)
7b. Alberto Mineo, PH-DH: 0-2 (F-8, K)
8a. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 1-2 (F-7, 1B)
8b. Isaac Paredes, SS: 0-1 (P-1)
9a. Robert Garcia, RF: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6 FC, SB)
9b. Roberto Caro, RF: 0-1 (P-3)
10a. Alex Bautista, DH #2: 0-2 (K, K)
10b. Michael Foster, PH: 0-1 (1-3)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Dylan Cease: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 7/0 GO/AO, 50 pitches (32 strikes) 
2. Hector Garcia: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/3 GO/AO, 18 pitches (12 strikes) 
3. M. T. Minacci: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/AO, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
4. Mark Malave: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 15 pitches (8 strikes)
5. Tyler Peitzmeier: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 31 pitches (18 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: 1 
C Tyler Payne (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 2nd)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Tyler Payne: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above) 

ATTENDANCE: 7 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's 

Comments

Hi Phil, Have you heard anything on Anthony Giansanti? He either got released or retired. Just curious. Looks like Cease is really coming around. Thanks-Bob

BOB: Anthony Giansanti was released to make room for 2B Stephen Bruno, who was moved up from Extended Spring Training to Tennessee over the weekend. 

Bruno hit 250/438/250 (including three walks, a HBP, no strikeouts, no XBH, two runs scored, and one RBI) in five EXST games (16 PA). He played all five games at 2B. 

Cease -> Bring him up!!!! Hey, don't look now, but Alcantara has caught fire again.

Iowa's offense is better than Atlanta's.

PHIL: Thanks for the Cease update. Very encouraging indeed! What do you believe his next steps may be in terms of pitch limits, innings, array of pitches? Will he be moving to Eugene or South Bend do you think 2016?

E-MAN: I believe Dylan Cease will be assigned to Eugene next month, but he could see South Bend in July or August or in the MWL playoffs (if the SB-Cubs get that far). 

Depending on how things go, it's possible (though not likely) that he could skip South Bend next season and go directly to Myrtle Beach. 

Cease's fastball is plus-plus (Noah Syndergaard-like) and his curve is really getting good. That combination alone keeps the opposing hitters at EXST off-balance. He is working on a change-up, but so are most all of the younger starting pitchers in the organization. If he can get a change-up or some other third pitch TBD, he could rocket up through the system in 2017. 

As far as innings & pitch limits, he isn't under any different limits than the other likely Eugene-bound starting pitcher candidates currently at EXST (Hudson, Paulino, Moreno, J. Castillo, Silverio, and M. Rondon). Right now he's at four innings/60 pitches (although he only needed to throw 50 pitches to complete four innings today), but his innings and pitches-per-game will be increased a bit over the next month so that he will be ready to go deeper into games once the NWL season starts on June 17th.  

What I am really hoping to see is more consistent command of his fastball. It's been exceptional two out of his last three starts (he struggled with it a bit in his start last Monday), but he can't backslide. It's fine to show flashes of brilliance, but he's got to be consistent with his fastball (not velocity-wise... I'm talking command) from start-to-start-to-start. 

Right now, Cease is the Cubs top pitching prospect (a true TOR starting pitcher prospect), and he is probably emerging as one of the top starting pitcher prospects in baseball as well. But he has a long way to go. 

I suspect that when it gets near the trade deadline, that teams will start with the name "Dylan Cease" when putting together a list of players they want back from the Cubs. 

Slightly off topic, but I'd like to see the Cubs change the meaning of BPA from Best Player Available to Best Pitcher Available in the next 2-3 drafts. I wouldn't mind seeing some selections of high-upside prep arms or high-ceiling college arms that fell (maybe due to injury). There've been some good ones taken at the back end of the first rounds or later recently. The attrition rate on pitchers is so high (and the Cubs are so deep with position players), I want as many high-upside arms as I can get and trading for pitching has become a lot more pricey lately. Mike Soroka - 28th overall in 2015 Tristan McKenzie - 41st overall in 2015 Michael Kopech - 33rd in 2014 Cody Reed - 54th in 2014 Sean Manaea - 34th in 2013 Corey Knebel - 39th in 2013 Jose Berrios - 32nd in 2012 I know there are many more pitchers who have failed than succeeded taken in similar slots, but I like the Cubs scouting staff. Basically, I think it's time for the Cubs to hedge their philosophy a little bit and lean pitcher for a few years.

Haven't the Cubs "leaned" toward pitching for the 2-10th rounds for several seasons (the Theo era)? Not exclusively (DeWeese, DJ Wilson and others), but it's only the 1st round picks that have been hitters. Now we'll get low 1st rounders (not this year) that are nearly equivalent to the early 2nd rounders they've taken previously. After that it's been pretty pitching heavy (Zastryzny, Skulina, Blackburn, etc.)

They have, but I would like them to take as many high-ceiling arms as they can. If one's available and not too big of a reach, I'd like them to set their philosophy aside (one that's worked quite well) for the next couple years. Zastryzny never struck me as a high-ceiling guy. Cease and Underwood types please.

i still can't believe they passed over a.nola. it's hard to argue against picking up a strong power bat like schwarber, but nola's floor was that of a fast-tracked 2-3 slot starter. it's looking like he may actually become a staff-leading ace at this point.

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  • crunch 1 hour 13 min ago (view)

    m.rodriguez to 10d IL, a.morgan returns.

     

  • Jackstraw 11 hours 18 min ago (view)

    I like that the team was absolutely committed to not losing back-to-back games on a walk-off passed ball.

     

  • Eric S 21 hours 40 min ago (view)

    And the funny thing is Rucker was the only Cubs pitcher tonight to post 0 runs allowed in the box score. You know things are really out of hand when Ross gives the okay for a Maples appearance.

     

  • George Altman 22 hours 53 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil,

    Is there a reason Preciado hasn't been in an ACL game in about a month?

     

  • crunch 1 day 8 min ago (view)

    i'd like the 2021 version of whatever d.ross is smoking bringing m.rucker into a bases loaded, 2 run lead in the 4th situation.

    dude saw the situation and said "gimmie that guy with the 8.44era 1.59whip" as the first pen option to protect a lead.

    rucker has been in 13 games and given up runs in 8 of them.

     

  • crunch 1 day 18 min ago (view)

    hendricks last 7 starts...

    9er, 1er, 4er, 8er, 6er, 1er, 7er

    3.68era - 1.29whip ...to... 4.81era - 1.35whip

     

  • Cubster 1 day 26 min ago (view)

    Hendricks becomes hammered?

    Do we miss the 2021 version of Jake Arrieta?

     

  • Eric S 1 day 38 min ago (view)

    Rivas in the outfield is a no go

     

  • Eric S 1 day 39 min ago (view)

    Thanks for posting the video. He seems a little hesitant on the base paths. Crazy thing is he's clearly out-pitched the Cubs staff ace since joining the Cards - WTH has happened to the Professor?

     

  • crunch 1 day 40 min ago (view)

    cubs get a 7 run lead in the 3rd...tie game in the 4th.

     

  • crunch 1 day 58 min ago (view)

    "Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em" - some dude in 1990

    "Okay." - JD Hammer 2021

     

  • Cubster 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Hammer hammered?

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    https://twitter.com/SNYtv/status/1438300733460340738

    bit of an odd pause/delay in the middle of the video for some reason.  there was a better cut video of his baserunning out there, but it seems to have been removed from Twitter.

    long story short, he's as timid about baserunning as he is about throwing a baseball anywhere but to a catcher off of a mound.  we saw a little of that with the cubs, but not piling up a bunch in a single inning.

     

  • Eric S 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    I searched the internets and struck out finding video of Big Jon's baserunning exploits 

     

  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    i highly suggest seeking out a highlight reel of his baserunning tonight.

     

  • Eric S 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    Looks like after tonight, Jon Lester will need just one more win to reach 200 career wins - notwithstanding it helps the Redbirds, hope he gets it this year.