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 6 hours 11 min ago (view)

    https://images.spot.im/v1/production/gsqady7hf53k5duw7hhf

     

  • tim815 6 hours 40 min ago (view)

    He's better than Taylor Davis.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 7 hours 22 min ago (view)

    He's at a career juncture where I think he is a toss up of he is who he is or there's a little more left for him to achieve. Playing this as his age 27 season he is either in or damn close to his peak. I personally think he doesn't need the everyday playing time, just based on the fact that he's not a top prospect, is older, and doesn't project to be a starter at any spot for a first division team.

     

  • Charlie 8 hours 20 min ago (view)

    This is the take if you see him as a legit prospect. Which, maybe? I know little about him, and his numbers in limited AAA exposure last season were really nice. Maybe a lively ball helps his career.

     

  • bradsbeard 8 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Sounds like a long shot to get a trade done then. Thanks for clarifying!

     

  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 58 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Before making a trade with the Rule 5 Draft pick's former club, the drafting club must first place the player on Outright Assignment Waivers and any of the other MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 Draft obligations (actually it's Rule 6 Selected Player obligations, but you know what I mean). 

     

  • bradsbeard 10 hours 13 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, the "work out a trade" part of Rule 5 is still a mystery to me. Do the Cubs have to put Megill through waivers and (if he clears) offer him back to SD before they can trade for him?

     

  • Arizona Phil 10 hours 13 min ago (view)

    For those of you who didn't see the game, here are the pitch-velo readings from Wednsdays Cubs - Royals game: 

    Kyle Hendricks: 
    FB: 84-87 
    CH: 77-80 
    CV: 78-80
    NOTES: An amazing pitcher... he's probably in mid-season form right now...  just needs to gradually increase innings...   

    Alec Mills: 
    FB: 89-92 
    SL: 80-82 
    CH: 77-80 
    CV: 66-70 
    NOTES: A legit candidate to be the 5th starter 

     

  • Craig A. 11 hours 12 min ago (view)

    he

     

  • Craig A. 11 hours 12 min ago (view)

    He'll be 27 in May and he's played in 36 games at AAA. Seems like he should be playing regularly. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 56 min ago (view)

    I really like this idea. They've talked of a 3rd catcher as 26th meaning Phegley, who seems a waste of roster space, good spring notwithstanding. Higgins is far more interesting 

     

  • tim815 15 hours 3 min ago (view)

    Is Brailyn Marquez getting any time in big league camp? Having him around the veterans would seem a solid use of resources.

    Thanks, as always.

     

  • Charlie 15 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Hot take: The Cubs should be considering PJ Higgins as the potential 26th man. 3rd catcher / infield sub who can put the bat on the ball.

    I think I'm just stealing an AZ Phil projection from a while ago, actually. But it makes sense!

     

  • Charlie 16 hours 26 min ago (view)

    Zagunis's stock has dropped a lot since his first exposure to MLB pitching. His 2019 at AAA is particularly alarming given the power spike in that league.

     

  • Hagsag 22 hours 1 min ago (view)

    I see that Dillon Maples hasn't pitched yet. Is he injured or spending time in the lab?

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of 26-year old RHRP Jonathan de Marte from Quebec (Frontier League) and he has been assigned to AZL Cubs Blue.

    He is the closer for Team Israel and has no previous experience in affiliated ball.

    He was a NDFA out of the U. of Richmond in 2017 and has been playing independent ball for the past three seasons in the Atlantic League and Can-Am League as well as winter ball in Australia this past winter.