CHICAGO – When the rain started falling and didn’t stop on Tuesday night, the concern wasn’t necessarily about the game at hand, but rather the next one on the schedule.
That’s the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday against the Tigers, when the latest White Sox prospect was scheduled to make his much-anticipated debut. But with Tuesday’s game postponed, there was a quick thought that Dylan Cease’s first start might get delayed.
Luckily, the club understood this and followed up their announcement of the postponement with the news that the MLB debut of the pitcher was still on schedule.
Dylan Cease and Ross Detwiler are still scheduled to pitch tomorrow.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 3, 2019
That’s a relief to fans and maybe the White Sox themselves, considering the anticipation around the debut of their latest prospect to come up through the system. There was the Yoan Moncada debut in 2017, Michael Kopech’s first game late in the 2018 season, and the start of the 2019 season with Eloy Jimenez.
Cease is the next player up, and like the others before, manager Rick Renteria is curious as to how his skill set will transfer from Triple-A to the White Sox.
“Pretty excited to get our eye on him here at the major league level. I want him to do what he does,” said Renteria of Cease. “It’s going to be memorable no matter what, but we hope he has a nice afternoon tomorrow and continue to work from there.”
Cease has been working his way through the White Sox system since he arrived about two years ago from the Cubs with Eloy Jimenez in the trade that sent Jose Quintana to the North Side. He finished up 2017 in Class A Kannapolis, then enjoyed an incredible 2018 season in Winston-Salem and Birmingham, finishing a combined 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA.
The numbers aren’t as eye-popping in 2019 as he made his way to Triple-A Charlotte this year, sporting a 4.48 ERA with 73 strikeouts compared to 32 walks. But he showed enough in his 15 starts to earn his place on the White Sox roster, and will likely remain there for the rest of the season.
Players like Lucas Giolito are quite excited to see what Cease will have to offer in his major league debut, based on what they’ve seen out of him in the minors and in spring training this past winter.
“Easy high-90s, like 99-100 miles an hour, super, super easy. Power curveball with a break. The stuff is out of this world,” said Giolito of Cease. “It’s just a matter of being consistent and over the plate. He has the ability to do all those things. It’s just a matter of him coming out and competing to the best of his ability, which I know he’ll do.”
Zack Collins has seen it up close over the past few months when he was catching Cease in Charlotte. Like Giolito, he’s aware of what the young pitcher can make happen on the mound.
“I see a guy who throws really hard. He’s under control, he’s real calm out there and does his thing,” said Collins of Cease. “He’s got four-plus pitches and obviously we can expect a lot from him. But, again, it’s his first start, he might have some jitters. So hopefully he’ll get this one out of the way and well, and we’ll move on.”
But for one day, Cease takes center stage, as another major piece of the White Sox future starts making his contributions in the present.