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 3 hours 53 min ago (view)

    ex-cub and fun baseball dude Jay Johnstone has died.  74 years old (dementia, COVID).

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 

     

  • Craig A. 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    -deleted-

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.