Cease seamless over six innings for Dash

No. 5 White Sox prospect allows two hits, strikes out five

Dylan Cease was a Midwest League midseason All-Star last year while still in the Cubs system. (Steve Harrison/White Sox)

By Marisa Ingemi / MiLB.com | April 13, 2018 10:17 PM

Dealt to the other side of town before last year's Trade Deadline, Dylan Cease is getting a fresh start with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. In two Carolina League starts, he appears to be adjusting well.

The fifth-ranked White Sox prospect gave up two hits over six scoreless innings for his first Carolina League win as the Dash shut down the Carolina Mudcats, 8-1, at BB&T Ballpark. 

Cease (1-1), MLB.com's No. 58 overall prospect, allowed just one Mudcat to reach second base while striking out five. It was the fewest hits he's allowed since July 23, when he was pitching for Class A Kannapolis and making his second start in the White Sox organization.


Gameday box score


The right-hander was facing the Mudcats for the second time after giving up two runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings in his season debut on Sunday. 

"Now that I knew their swings a little bit and know them, it's not too much different," Cease said. "I'm still attacking them like I would attack any other team. I just want to focus on pitching to my strengths."

Video: Dylan Cease strikes out fifth

With four pitches in his arsenal, Cease is still working on perfecting command of his fastball. 

"I was more fastball-slider the first couple of innings, with a mix of changeups," he said. "I was really attacking with my fastball today. It was mostly sliders for the off-speed pitches."

Cease retired the first seven batters he faced, fanning four. 

"I was getting it by people," he said. "I was throwing good off-speed pitches, too. I was able to locate every one. I think I had a lot of two-strike counts where maybe I didn't put people away as well, but overall it felt like a solid start and we won, so I can't complain."

Cease was in trouble just once. In the fourth, he issued a one-out walk to Tucker Neuhaus and a single to Clint Coulter but gotRonnie Gideon to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

More than three years removed from Tommy John surgery, Cease is throwing in the high 90s and can still reach triple digits. He went 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 13 starts for Class A South Bend last year before the Cubs traded him along with outfielder Eloy Jimenez and two other prospects for Major League left-hander Jose Quintana. Cease was 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA in nine starts for Kannapolis after the swap.

Having the entirety of Spring Training to work with White Sox coaches on his approach has made the transition smoother.

"I'm having a blast here so far," the Georgia native said. "Having my first taste of big league Spring Training, then I got to break camp here, it's been really fun and exciting."

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Cease also said he has no restrictions on pitches or innings this season, being far enough removed from ligament replacement surgery to go all-out in his first exposure to Class A Advanced hitters. 

"All the guys are talented," he said. "They probably have better approaches, too. I know for me, I feel more comfortable throwing my off-speed now and better with my fastball command. Facing these guys, they're all first-round guys and really good players."

No. 13 White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored for the Dash, while 11th-ranked Micker Adolfo was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. No. 12 Gavin Sheets contributed two hits and drove in a run.

Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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