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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  • erich081 3 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Brach in during a one run game where the ball seems to be flying out of the park? I too like to live dangerously.

     

  • Eric S 3 hours 35 min ago (view)

    Robel’s 454 foot splashdown - 6th longest homer by a Cub this season

    https://twitter.com/cubs/status/1153486434659119104?s=21

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 29 sec ago (view)

    RHP Aneuris Rosario (2014 IFA - Dominican Republic) has been reinstated from the Disqualified List. Now 24, Rosario spent four seasons in the DSL (2014-17) and was the one-time closer for DSL Cubs #1. He hasn't pitched since 2017.  

     

  • Charlie 5 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Last hurrah as a starter before the Cubs trade for an outfielder who gets on base?

     

  • crunch 6 hours 20 min ago (view)

    i wonder why almora's started almost every game the past week+, especially since he's sucked at it...and he even got to hit leadoff for a game or 2.

     

  • Charlie 6 hours 47 min ago (view)

    Oof. Almora and Maldonado as starters is going to be rough on the offense. Better hope for at least a Garcia triple.

     

  • crunch 7 hours 33 min ago (view)

    schwarber / baez / bryant / rizzo / garcia(2nd) / heyward / almora / maldo / a.mills

    ham gets a AAA rehab start tomorrow.  also, i could do with less almora.

     

  • QuietMan 13 hours 50 min ago (view)

    Edwards optioned to Iowa per Jesse Rogers,

     

  • George Altman 14 hours 4 min ago (view)

    Yeah.....yeah. I think I'm good too. Put him and Strop in the Shawn Greene deal.

     

  • Mike Wellman 16 hours 12 min ago (view)

    I feel like I've already waited & seen enough of CEJ...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 34 min ago (view)

    Not as much as it makes his stomach tighten!

    i dont think we should trade him. We would get nothing of value back. But I don’t think he should be a bullpen piece on a playoff contender either. He should be in Iowa. Reassess where he’s at for September and next year. If they don’t like what they see, non-tender.

     

  • Charlie 17 hours 6 min ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 43 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.

    boo.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?