Dylan Cease Inching Closer To Big League Debut

"He is a good one," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn says.

Bruce Levine
June 10, 2019 - 7:12 pm
White Sox pitching prospect Dylan Cease

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- White Sox top pitching prospect Dylan Cease is inching closer to his big league debut, general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged Monday without divulging too many more specifics.

"He is getting closer," Hahn said. "All I will say is he is not coming here that there is necessarily a need in Chicago. He will come here when we think it's time for his next step in development. We want him to be ready to succeed, not just survive. He is not too far away. He is getting closer. When it comes to delineating what he has to do to improve one-two-three, I will keep that internal. I prefer the other 29 teams know that when he does make his debut."

Pitching at Triple-A Charlotte, Cease had his worst start of the season Sunday, as he didn't get out of the first inning. He allowed four runs, all earned, on two hits and three walks in 2/3 innings.

The White Sox believe his problem was he didn't get prepared in his normal fashion as he pitched the back end of a doubleheader.

"My understanding is his preparation was affected by starting game No. 2," Hahn said. "He came in and wasn't fully ready. He did not have his best stuff. The staff made a decision to pull him out the way the outing was trending. Frankly, we believe that was a really good developmental day for Dylan Cease. He has learned a lot about what he needs to do in those situations. He is a smart enough kid that he will learn from it."

Cease, 23, is 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 59 strikeouts and 22 walks in 52 2/3 innings across 11 starts at Triple-A Charlotte this season. Cease was named the MLB Pipeline Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018, when he posted a 2.40 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 23 starts across advanced Class-A and Double-A.

He'll be on a limitation of around 150 to 160 innings this season, much in the way the White Sox handled Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in recent years.

As he has all along, Hahn maintained that the White Sox's rash of injuries to pitchers at the big league level won't affect the organization's timeline for Cease. Carlos Rodon and Michael Kopech are each done for the season as they go through different stages of their Tommy John surgery rehab, while Dylan Covey landed on the injured list with shoulder soreness this weekend.

"These are not finished products in the minor leagues," Hahn said. "(Cease) is a good one, and he is getting close. It is a matter of achieving everything we set up with them at a given level. We want them to be able to succeed at the big league level and not have to go back."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.