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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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 51 min ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.

     

  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!

     

  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information. 

     

  • Cubster 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office,  as GM

     

  • Charlie 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.

     

  • crunch 4 days 1 hour ago (view)

    rev up those off-season rumor fryers...

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.

     

  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.

    green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters. 

     

  • crunch 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)

    mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...

     

  • crunch 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    t.clifton straight up falling off a cliff sucked to watch happen last year.

    i had a lot of faith in the guy to at least hold his own in AAA, even if he needed another season or 2 after to get ready for prime time.

    he ended up giving out homers like candy on halloween while retaining his high walk and injury rate.

    that said, his career is far from done.  most likely many other teams willing to give him a minor league deal.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that most free-agents who sign a 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection. (The only exception would be a free-agent who is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, such as a player whose only previous pro experience was in a foreign major league or in an independent minor league, or a player who was released by another MLB organization but is still not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).  

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    If you're wondering if players who sign minor league successor contracts ever get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the answer is most definitely - YES -. 

    The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after the Indians signed him to a minor league successor contract, and the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Pedro Araujo in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs signed him to a minor league successor contract. 

     

  • Hagsag 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Got to get Taylor Davis back.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    So the Cubs were ultimately able to retain five of their seven most-valuable post-2019 minor league free-agent eligibles (Rea, Pereda, de la Cruz, Lugo, and Burks), losing only Clifton and Leal (both of whom are probably looking for a fresh start in another organization after maybe feeling stalled in the Cubs system).