White Sox

Dylan Cease, pitching tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, showing why he’s a part of White Sox bright future

Dylan Cease, pitching tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, showing why he’s a part of White Sox bright future

Dylan Cease isn’t the highest-ranked pitching prospect in the White Sox system. He wasn’t even the highest-ranked prospect in the trade that brought him to this organization.

But Cease is doing anything but flying under the radar, a testament to the amount of minor league talent and the level of interest in this rebuilding process.

Cease, no slouch in the rankings at No. 5 in the White Sox organization and No. 56 in baseball, is having a nice season at Class A Winston-Salem. He enters Thursday night’s game — which will air on NBC Sports Chicago — with a 3.12 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 40.1 innings of work. Last time out, he bounced back from his only real rough start of the campaign, throwing six shutout innings. It paled only in comparison to his finest start of the year: seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts on the first day of May.

Earlier this month, he spoke on a conference call about some of his hopes for and improvements made during the 2018 season.

“Making every start is probably one of the most important things when it comes to being a starting pitcher,” Cease said. “For me, my goals are more execution-based. How am I executing my pitches? How are they coming out of my hand? Things like that. But that’s definitely on the back-burner of something I want to do.

“I definitely feel like I’ve taken a step forward (with my command). The ability is there, it’s just whether you can consistently do it. And for me, I feel like I’ve been doing it better, and I’m continuing to kind of narrow down on my process and find the consistent things I need to do in order to put myself in a position to execute my pitches. So it’s definitely getting better.”

White Sox fans who haven’t taken the leap and sprung for the minor league streaming service will finally get a chance to see Cease pitch for the first time since an impressive spring training, when he pitched 6.1 shutout innings over three outings, allowing just three hits.

It was a big deal for the 22-year-old, acquired not a full year prior in that crosstown trade with the Cubs.

“I definitely would’ve said I was a little bit nervous,” Cease said. “But being able to get big league guys out and see that I can do it and then start those games, it made me feel that I was closer.

“I think the most valuable thing about that was seeing that I could do it. It gives me that much more motivation to keep working on my craft and get up there and be consistent with it.”

Cease is still pitching at the Class A level, so it might be a while before he’s pitching in the majors. But he seems to have as good a shot as anyone of competing for a spot in the White Sox crowded rotation of the future. He’s got stiff competition, obviously, with the likes of Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez all pitching at higher levels of the system, including the major leagues.

But if Cease can keep pitching like he has been, he’ll keep his name in the discussion.

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

Call it the White Sox Hitters Revenge Tour.

Last week, Eloy Jimenez provided the single best image of rebuilding progress to date for the White Sox, smashing a game-winning homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs, the team that traded him, at Wrigley Field, the park he always assumed would be the one he'd call home as a big leaguer.

Well, a week later, Yoan Moncada exacted similar revenge on the team that traded him.

In the first of a three-game series between the White Sox and Boston Red Sox, Moncada took a second-inning pitch out to left field, depositing a ball over the top of the Green Monster for a tie-breaking two-run homer at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox traded Moncada — as part of a package that also included Michael Kopech and Luis Basabe — to the White Sox during the Winter Meetings in 2016 in the deal that jump-started the South Side rebuilding project.

Between signing with the Red Sox in 2015 and making his White Sox debut in 2017, Moncada spent time as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. After a disappointing first full season in the majors last year, Moncada is having a much better go of things in 2019, bringing a .295/.347/.509 slash line into Monday night, when he belted his 13th home run of the season.

Of course, the Red Sox are pretty happy with their return in that trade, Chris Sale, who in addition to being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two and a half seasons got the championship-clinching out in the World Series last October.

But part of the reason the White Sox future is so bright is the return they got in the Sale trade. And one of those players got his revenge, Eloy style, on Monday night.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

Chuck Garfien gets the inside info about some of the top prospects in the White Sox organization from director of player development Chris Getz.

They talk about the wow factor of Luis Robert, what he's working on before being promoted to Triple-A, if he can make the majors in 2019, what kind of major league player he will be and more (3:45)

-Why Nick Madrigal has the "it" factor and why he might have been disappointed with Getz at the start of the season (10:10)

-Why Zack Burdi has struggled this season and a great sign of things to come (16:30)

-Why Kyle Kubat is so highly thought of in the White Sox farm system (18:20)

-How close Dylan Cease is to the major leagues (20:15) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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