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If all goes according to plan, Dylan Cease will not be a part of White Sox Minor Keys posts from this day forward.
Let’s take the occasion to cover a couple of posts from The Athletic that show where he came from and what he’s bringing.
First, James Fegan talked to Cease’s pitching coach at Milton High School in Georgia, and it sounds like Cease has been the same guy since his sophomore year, when he randomly started hitting the low-90s with his fastball. Whether watching him on the mound or talking to the media, he doesn’t seem susceptible to adrenaline, and while he’s analytical in nature, it hasn’t yet led him down the path to public self-doubt like Lucas Giolito, who runs along similar lines.
Then Emily Waldon wrote a great piece about Cease’s arsenal, and what’s been behind the development of each pitch. The section on his fastball covers his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the next step with his curveball is sequencing it. I’m most interested in whether he’ll use his slider, and how often he’ll go to it. When a pitcher doesn’t have confidence in his changeup — and it’s Cease’s fourth pitch — a righty will typically use the curve in place of the change to lefties, with the slider to righties. Cease’s slider sounds like it’s been a project, but he has assigned a mentality to throwing it correctly:
“I like where my slider is at right now,” Cease said. “That’s probably my best swing-and-miss pitch right now. It’s just one of those that I don’t think I’ve ever had a consistent feel for. So, at the beginning of this year, I didn’t really throw it a whole lot, and when I did throw it was like low-80s.
“They talked to me about it and told me to just, you know, throw with arm speed, and I started throwing it mid-to-upper 80s and it had a better shape.
“It’s just one of those where, I feel like when I focus on it, when I really work on it, I have it, and if it’s on the back-burner, I don’t have it. So, it’s just one of those that I have to keep going to arm speed and use it. I think when I pitch it’s more of just like a body awareness. Like, I’m not thinking, ‘My hand needs to be here or here.’ It’s more of a feel. So, all of the thinking’s before and after.”
- Danny Mendick was 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. He was caught stealing.
- Yermin Mercedes went 0-for-4 with a K.
- Seby Zavala, 1-for-3 with an HBP and a strikeout.
- Luis Robert went 1-for-4 and succeeded with his stolen-base attempt.
- Nick Madrigal went 1-for-4 and did not.
- Blake Rutherford went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Luis Gonzalez, 0-for-3 with a walk and a sac fly.
- Laz Rivera went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Lincoln Henzman: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
*The White Sox named Madrigal a co-player of the month for June for hitting .372/.430/.462 in his first 20 games after getting promoted to Birmigham.
- Steele Walker went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Carlos Perez, 0-for-4.
- Tyler Johnson: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
* Walker split the honor with Madrigal among position players, hitting .330/.379/.523 over 22 games for Winston-Salem.
*Kade McClure took the honors among pitchers, as he posted a 2.12 ERA and came up one out shy of averaging six innings an outing over his five starts.
- Lenyn Sosa went 3-for-5.
- Bryce Bush, 2-for-5 with two doubles and his first strikeout in five games.
- Romy Gonzalez was 1-for-4 with a double.
- Corey Zangari, 2-for-4 with a homer, double and strikeout.
- Jason Bilous: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- Cabera Weaver went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Kelvin Maldonado was 1-for-4 with a K.
- Luis Mieses went 1-for-4.
- Lency Delgado, 2-for-4 with a triple and a strikeout.
- Sam Abbott struck out three times and hit a sac fly.
- Anderson Comas went 0-for3 with a K.
- James Beard went 1-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
- Jose Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a homer and a strikeout.
- Andrew Vaughn went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and a strikeout.
- DJ Gladney homered, singled and struck out twice.
- Bryan Ramos went 2-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
- Samil Polanco and Victor Torres both were 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Misael Gonzalez went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
*Sean Williams got video of the dingers:
- Wilber Sanchez went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a stolen base.
- Anthony Espinoza was 1-for-4 and swiped two bags.
- Benyamin Bailey went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Alberto Bernal went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.