Dylan Cease

Cubs, D'backs, and Giants Play Three-Way in Mesa

Kevin Zamudio slugged a solo hone run to put the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd, Luis Ayala belted a two-out two-run triple in the bottom of the 7th to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead, and Dylan Cease fired 4.2 IP (71 pitches) of one-hit ball with six strikeouts, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and Zach Bowers blasted a solo HR, singled twice, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, and SP Jeff Burke and five relievers combined to toss a five-hitter, leading the Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Memorial Day split squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

Cease was cruising along about to complete five innings of shutout ball, but he hit a batter and walked the next two hitters on nine pitches with two outs in the top of the 5th, and then reliever Tommy Nance immediately gave up a two-run double that scored two inherited runners (both runs charged to Cease).  

Pedro Marquez drilled a two-run double, singled, and walked for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause in the game on Field #1. Ex-Cub RHP Jeferson Mejia (one of two pitchers sent to the Diamondbacks in the Miguel Montero trade in December 2014) was the starting pitcher for the D'backs and worked five innings, allowing two runs on three hits (including the Zamudio HR) and four walks, with two strikeouts, 1 GIDP, and 4/6 GO/AO,  

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL since May 9th with right shoulder inflammation) and RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) worked in the game versus the Giants at Sloan Park. Both were hit fairly hard (Tseng surrendered four well-struck hits in 2.2 IP including three singles and a double plus a HBP, and Beeler gave-up four hits including the Bowers HR in just two innings of work). 

The game with Diamondbacks on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex was called by mutual-consent after 7-1/2 innings of play. This was supposed to have been a split-squad doubleheader versus the Giants (only), but the D'backs and Giants play each other in a split-squad doubleheader tomorrow, and while the Giants don't have enough pitchers available to play two doubleheaders in a row, the Diamondbacks do (sort of). So the D'backs sent a squad of players to Mesa to play the Cubs "B" squad, and left a second squad back home at Salt River Fields to play their regularly scheduled Cactus League EXST game against the A's, but they only brought enough pitchers to Mesa to play seven innings.  

The following position-players have been sent from Extended Spring Training to the Cubs Dominican Academy and will be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2: SS Aramis Ademan, C Miguel Amaya, SS Christopher Morel, INF Rafael Narea, 2B Yonathan Perlaza, OF Abraham Rodriguez, and OF Jonathan Sierra. Three or four pitchers who have been at EXST will also be assigned to the DSL, presumably including some combination of RHP (ex-INF) Francisco Garay, RHP (ex-OF) Wander Feliz, and LHP Eugenio Palma. It is possible that there will be some additional roster adjustments made prior to the start of the DSL season on Saturday, so all assignments are subject to change depending on the needs of the organization. I can't even absolutely, positively confirm that the players named above have actually physically left Arizona yet, but I would say there is a good chance that they have.    

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):  

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

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

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):  

Is That Arrieta?

Dylan Cease fired three innings of shutout ball, Vimael Machin lined a triple off the CF Batter's Eye and scored and Alex Bautista rifled an RBI double into the LF corner to highlight a two-run 7th, and then Bautista ripped an RBI single through the box into CF and Yohan Matos followed with an RBI triple high off the LF screen (near HR) to spark a two-run 9th, as the Cubs plated five runs over the final three innings and defeated the Brewers 6-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Cease threw a higher percentage of strikes (62%) today than in any previous outing (he usually struggles to throw strikes, typically throwing 50-55% strikes), breaking his curve for called strikes time & again, and humming his heater consistently knee-high at 98-99 MPH (per both the Brewers & Cubs guns -- for example, 99-99-99-98-99-99-98-98-99-99-99 in the bottom of the 2nd). He even got a swing & miss on a change-up (the pitch that is his "work-in-progress").

Cease allowed four hits (three singles and a double) over his three-inning stint, but three of the hits were opposite-field grounders, and the fourth was a broken-bat humpback liner looped over the shortstop's head and into short left. 

Cease was so dominating that one of the Brewer pitchers seated behind home plate asked "Is that Arrieta?" as Cease dropped his knee-bending hook to get ahead 0-2 and then blew unhittable gas past the last two Brew Crew hitters for strike-three in the bottom of the 2nd (stranding runners at 2nd & 3rd). It's unusual when the other team's pitchers are mesmerized by an EXST opponent who isn't a major league rehabber.  

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only) 

Cease Fires Cubs to Victory at Sloan Park

Chris Pieters drilled a two-run single and a double, Kevonte Mitchell ripped an RBI single, walked three times, and scored a run, Yeiler Peguero doubled twice and drew a walk, and Dylan Cease tossed three innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts and combined with five relievers to fan 14, leading the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Wednesday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Angels Top Cubs at Sloan Park

Jabari Henry belted a two-run home run and Gleyvin Pineda singled twice, stole a base, and scored twice, leading the Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day game action this morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs are playing their EXST home games in the stadium (Sloan Park) this year rather than at the Riverview backfields to take advantage of the state-of-the-art Statcast tracking technology that is available at the stadium (only). 

Shane Victorino (calf strain) continued his rehab and played LF for all nine innings, collecting two singles and a walk and a run scored, Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Dylan Cease tossed three innings of shutout ball, and Kelly Dugan walked, singled, and drove-in the lone Cub run with a sacrifice fly.   

RHRP Aaron Crow (ex-KC - April 2015 TJS rehab) threw an inning for the Cubs and was not particularly impressive, allowing the Henry two-run bomb. 

John Arguello has game notes & pictures from the game at Cubs Den...



And here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Wilson, Cease, and Hudson Star at Minor League Camp

CF D. J. Wilson (Cubs 2015 4th round draft pick - Canton South HS - Canton, OH) tripled and singled and scored two runs, 6'8 LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round draft pick - Alton HS - Alton, IL) tossed 4.1 IP of one hit shutout ball with a 10/1 GO/AO, and Cubs top pitching prospect fireballin' RHSP Dylan Cease (Cubs 2014 6th round draft pick - Milton HS - Milton, GA) hurled four innings of one-run/one hit ball, in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Wednesday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 11-1/2 innings of play with the score tied 2-2. 

Shane Victorino (calf strain) continued his rehab, playing LF for six innings and going 0-3 at the plate (4-3, 4-3, 5-3). 

Ex-KC closer RHP Aaron Crow (signed by the Cubs to a minor league contract prior to the start of Spring Training) made his first game appearance since undergoing TJS last April, throwing 1.2 IP (19 pitches - 12 strikes) and allowing one hit and an unearned run with a 4/0 GO/AO.  

Ex-HOU RHRP Jake Buchanan made his first game appearance in a Cub uniform since being signed to a minor league contract last week, throwing 1.2 IP (21 pitches) while surrendering a run (earmed) on two hits (a triple and an RBI single) and a 3/0 GO/AO.

In Minor League Camp roster news, 3B-1B  Blake Headley (Cubs 2015 20th round draft pick - U. of Nebraska) has retired. Also, INF-OF David Bote was assigned to Myrtle Beach (where either he or Erick Castillo will likely initially be inactive, but available to be reinstated when needed), and LHP Jeffry Antigua has been assigned to Extended Spring Training (he was previously with the Iowa squad at Minor League Camp) and will be available to respond whenever needed on a moment's notice to any of the Cubs four full-season afiliates.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

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