Dylan Cease finishes second in AL Cy Young voting

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

The only question about the American League Cy Young race was whether Justin Verlander would win it unanimously, and that was resolved in the affirmative on Wednesday.

Verlander captured all of the 30 first-place votes from BBWAA ballots for his third Cy Young Award, making him the fourth-oldest winner in league history. Dylan Cease had to settle for second place …

… which is also the best finish by a White Sox pitcher since Esteban Loaiza, who finished runner-up to Roy Halladay by going 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA over 34 starts for the White Sox during his dream season in 2003. Hopefully Cease follows Loiaza’s precedent no further, whether because of the lack of comparable seasons afterward, or the prison sentence for drug trafficking after his career.

What’s a little striking is how a runner-up season doesn’t cover the kind of ground it used to. Loiaza made 34 starts and covered 226.1 innings, or one out fewer than Chris Sale recorded in his fifth-place finish in Cy Young voting in 2016.

Cease threw just 184 innings over his 32 starts for an average of 5.75 innings an outing. Sale averaged 7.08 innings during his last season with the Sox, meaning he lasted four extra outs per start. It’s more a comment on the era than Cease, because he threw nine more innings than Verlander, but it might explain why it hasn’t resonated as an equal triumph to Sale’s peak seasons with the Sox. (Or maybe 2022 was just so tainted by everything around it that nothing merits a real celebration. The White Sox didn’t even acknowledge it on their social pages.)

Cease managed to finish second in Cy Young voting despite leading baseball in walks with 78, which is one of those things that’s secretly encouraging. Sure, he often walks a fine line, and a pitcher who doesn’t have his talent might get burned by all the extra pitches and baserunners … unless Cease slashes his walk rate by a few percentage points, and then he’s even better?

The latter scenario seems like it’s too greedy, because nobody predicted Cease reaching the podium when the argument was whether the Sox should trade him or Dane Dunning after the 2020 season. He’s made giant leaps in consecutive years to render to bury that argument twice over, and if he’s improved twice, then further fine-tuning can’t be counted out.

I’d personally trade a little bit of Cease regression for Lucas Giolito and/or Lance Lynn returning to down-ballot Cy Young consideration themselves. Cease’s tendency to fall into deep counts for reasons bad (occasional mechanical lapses) and good (he’s hard to put into play, period) makes it difficult to count on him increasing his innings total much further, which means that two other starters will have to rediscover their ability to shoulder loads. If Cease wants to take this as yet another personal challenge to conquer, so be it.

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Josh Nelson

One thing to add for Dylan Cease is he makes $1.75 million for finishing 2nd thanks to the new pre-arb bonus structure.


Now we won’t be able to afford another starting pitcher


The money has now been spent.


^^^Not kidding.


i shudder to think where this franchise would be without Ethan Katz


There is probably a non-zero chance some other organization poaches him away at some point.


poaches him how? i doubt they’re gonna be outbid for his services, nor is there a clear higher position than major league pitching coach— that’s probably the least likely of the coaching positions to end up a manager. the FO has made it pretty clear they love him vis a vie (rightly) imposing him on now two incoming managers. unless he really wants to depart, I doubt he’s getting poached.


I disagree with your first point. This organization is more than capable of being outbid for anyone.

In business and in baseball mediocre organizations will always struggle to keep top talent if greener pastures open up. He might leave for a lateral move if he thinks he has a better chance of winning a World Series.


Pollock leaving and opting for what will obviously turn out to be less money for him speaks volumes about what he thinks of this team/organization. He’s used to winning and the clubhouse vibe he had with the Dodgers, and didn’t like playing for a mediocre team with an ownership that won’t lift a finger to help improve the roster.


I only mentioned this once during the season, because it’s PURE observational speculation but I kept seeing a vibe that he wasn’t one of the boys. But that’s not casting negatively on Pollack either.


I am struck by the fact that LSU gave Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson a raise. From The Athletic report:

Johnson reportedly received an annual salary around $350,000 from the Twins when he left the University of Arkansas for MLB in November 2018. He will now be paid $750,000 per year by LSU, sources confirmed.

In any context, an MLB pitching coach leaving for a college job is surprising, but what makes this truly shocking is that Johnson is leaving a first-place Twins team, in the middle of the season, and getting a massive raise to do so.

The less arduous travel schedule, D1 budget, and that kind of commitment could be attractive to other MLB pitching coaches.

Last edited 10 months ago by asinwreck

Johnson’s background is pretty dissimilar from Katz in that Johnson’s (1) from the South and (2) spent basically his whole coaching career, approx. 20 years, as a pitching coach at Southern universities. That culminated in the head coaching gig at Arkansas for two years before making the pro jump and joining the Twins in 2018. Johnson never played pro ball so far as I can tell. His connections to SEC baseball are very strong; arguably he’s a college coach at heart.

Katz is from LA, so he didn’t grow up with the emphasis on college sports that the South has. He played pro ball for five years and then was coaching at Giolito’s high school in his hometown LA for four years, before joining the pro ranks in 2013 and ascending quickly. I very much doubt a guy that’s been a pro coach basically all the way wants to downgrade to college.


Katz has a very young kid, so the travel thing could be enticing.


A coaching job in college ball isn’t analogous in the slightest to Pro’s. Sorry if that came off hard, didn’t know how to say it gently.


With a better BP?


I’m curious to see what this might mean for the stagnant, insular White Sox front office.


Sign Cease to an extension. It can be your way of getting back in my good graces for running Buehrle out of town.