White Sox ace Dylan Cease Is A Lot Better Than You Think

White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease
Photo Credit: Getty Images

In July 2017, the Southsiders made a trade that would change the team’s trajectory for good when they sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs for prospects. Among those prospects the White Sox received was highly touted young pitcher Dylan Cease.

After moving through the White Sox minor league system, Cease would make his debut in 2019. He started fourteen games that season en route to an ERA of 5.79. Over the next two seasons, Cease would continue to develop his arsenal and his ERA would drop.

Even still, he was still considered a player with high potential that had to “figure it out” going into 2022. With elite stuff, as evidenced by his 226 strikeouts in 2021, the sky was the limit — if he could just get over the hump.

Dominance Begins

Early in the 2022 season, Dylan Cease looked like his usual self for the White Sox. With high strikeout and walk numbers, he looked great against lesser teams while struggling against the good ones. The lowest point of the season was his start against the Red Sox on May 24th when he allowed seven earned runs in just three innings.

Since then, Cease has completely turned his season around. In the thirteen starts since that day, he has allowed just five earned runs. Perhaps his best display during this stretch came against Minnesota. In that contest, Cease pitched seven shutout innings with just one hit allowed and eight strikeouts.

Following the start against Boston, his ERA sat at 4.24. Now, he has lowered it all the way to 1.98, good for third in the MLB. His 166 strikeouts also sit at third in the league. His K/9 however, sits atop the league at 12.2.

Flying Under The Radar

Despite being one of the best pitchers in the league in nearly every category, Cease has not always been given the recognition he deserves. In fact, he was not even named to the A.L. All-Star team. This was despite the fact that he led both Nestor Cortes and Paul Blackburn in every statistical pitching category.

Furthermore, in the MLB’s flagship video game MLB the Show 22, he has not once been named to the game’s Player of the Month program, despite inferior pitchers like Jon Gray and Brady Singer receiving acknowledgment.

Currently, Cease is second in betting odds for the A.L. Cy Young award. However, his +300 odds don’t even sniff the -155 odds owned by the Astros Justin Verlander.

Just How Dominant Is Cease?

Last season, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom had one of the most dominating stretches of pitching excellence we have ever seen before losing his season to injury. Through fifteen starts, he owned an ERA of 1.08 with 146 strikeouts and 40 hits allowed.

Over Dylan Cease’s thirteen starts in this unbelievable stretch with the White Sox, he has an ERA of 0.60, 95 strikeouts, and only 47 hits allowed. Now, is Cease as good as deGrom? Of course not, no one is. Alas, over this stretch, he has been nearly as untouchable. However, in deGrom’s case, it was much more publicized.

Going forward, there is not much reason to expect a drop off. Simply put, his stuff is too good to fail. A visit to Cease’s Baseball Savant page shows what you would expect, a lot of red. With a fastball spin rate in the 97th percentile and a whiff rate in the 96th percentile, his fastball is not getting touched.

How about the off-speed you might be wondering? Well, his 95 strikeouts on the slider are the most on any pitch in the league. That pitch offers opposing hitters a startling -30 in run value.

So, despite the lack of recognition around the league (outside of Chicago), Cease is unquestionably one of the leagues very best. With the White Sox just a few games out of the division lead, this magical thirteen game stretch from Dylan Cease is keeping them afloat. Absolutely deserving of a playoff start, he just might get one if he keeps this up.

BREAKING NEWS: Nationals Trade Juan Soto to the Padres

Juan Soto and Josh Bell continue to go tit for tat for Washington  Nationals' home run lead - Federal Baseball
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto has finally been traded. He is on the move to San Diego for a flurry of top prospects. The Padres were already one of the most fun teams in the MLB and they just added the most electric player in baseball. Furthermore, Josh Bell is on the move to San Diego along with Juan Soto in the trade.

The Padres side of things:

Juan Soto, the 23 year old, World Series champion, and former batting title champion is on the move. With a top tier 1b by his side, Soto costs a pretty penny but is definitely worth it. The superstar outfielder is in the 98th percentile for xwOBA (expected weighted on base average) during a down year. In every year of his career, Soto has been in the top 3% for walks and top 10% for wxOBA. Everyone knows Soto is a once in a generation talent, coupled with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado… watch out world.

Another piece of this trade was Josh Bell. If you are a big baseball fan you probably know Bell from his time with the Pirates. Bell he has been solid for the Nationals this year. A lot of fan bases wanted him this offseason, but the Padres get him as they make a world series push.

The Nationals side of the Juan Soto Trade:

Firstly, Mackenzie Gore is the biggest part of this deal. He is a bonafide future ace, and he has already shown big league production this year. Furthermore, Gore can still keep you from being a horrible team for the next few years as the Nationals ownership looks to sell the franchise away.

Second, We all knew the Juan Soto trade was going to get the Nationals a good amount of top prospects, but adding Bell on top takes this deal to the next level. The Nationals receive CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell, James Wood and Jarlin Susana. CJ Abrams is going to be a top defensive shortstop in this league. Pairing him with SS/2B Brady House (Nationals #1 prospect) will be a lot of fun for Nationals fans. Hassell and Wood are top tier outfielders in the minors right now who are expected to be up quickly. Susana has been making waves in the minors recently with some great outings on the bump.

What’s Next:

Finally, the big fish has been moved, and Soto is off the board. However, This makes the the Giants situation a lot more interesting. Now, with two top 3 teams in the NL, the Giants will look to sell. The Yankees reportedly are in on Carlos Rendon already but have made no progress.

Breaking News: Cardinals Acquire Jose Quintana

Pittsburgh Pirates trade P Jose Quintana to St. Louis Cardinals
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports

Another MLB trade deadline domino has fallen. The St. Louis Cardinals have bolstered their rotation by adding a veteran from their own division. The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to trade Jose Quintana to the Cardinals. MLB insider Jeff Passan broke the news this evening

Jose Quintana Trade Details

Cardinals receive: LHP Jose Quintana

Pirates receive: RHP Johan Oviedo & 3B Malcom Nunez

Quintana is a 33-year-old starting pitcher who was just picked up by Pittsburgh this offseason on a one-year deal. To acquire his services, St. Louis gave up one big leaguer and a prospect.

Oviedo is a 24-year-old pitcher who has bounced between the Cardinals’ MLB roster and triple-A Memphis. He has started, but has seen more work in the majors this season as a reliever. Nunez is a 21-year-old third baseman who was most recently with the Cardinals’ double-A affiliate in Springfield.

Cardinals Add to The Rotation

Pitching was certainly a need for St. Louis heading into the deadline. More specifically, the Cardinals needed more lefty arms. Over the weekend, they added JoJo Romero, a lefty reliever from Philadelphia, in exchange for shortstop Edmundo Sosa. Now it seems they have added another lefty, this time a starter, in Jose Quintana. The former Pirate has been solid this year, posting a 3.50 ERA on a dismal team. Having a defensive upgrade behind him could improve that number.

Still, Quintana does seem like a consolation prize after the Cardinals missed out on Frankie Montas. However, this might be a blessing in disguise. First of all, Quintana being left-handed provides better balance to a right-hand-heavy rotation. Second of all, he was a much better bargain, as the Cardinals gave up almost nothing of consequence.

Oviedo is a struggling pitcher who has not contributed much this year, and Nunez was not even the best third baseman in their farm system right now. Montas would have likely cost a more significant prospect (or two) like a Jordan Walker or a Masyn Winn. Those were important prospects for the Cardinals to hold onto as they pursue a potential blockbuster trade for Juan Soto.

Pirates Had to Sell

Giving up Quintana was a no-brainer. Pittsburgh is the exact opposite of a competitive club right now. There is no point in holding onto a veteran starting pitcher on a one-year contract when wins are inconsequential. All he was doing at this point was eating innings away from younger pitchers and potentially hurting the team’s draft position.

In exchange, the Pirates got a decent haul. Oviedo is still relatively young and has plenty of time to turn things around. However, Nunez is the more promising asset. While he was buried in the St. Louis farm system, that may not be the case in Pittsburgh. He could have a much clearer path to the big leagues, although it may not be at third base.

BREAKING: Yankees Trade for Frankie Montas from Athletics

New York Yankees acquire Frankie Montas in trade with Oakland A's
Photo Credit: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics reached an agreement on a trade that will send starter Frankie Montas to New York in exchange for four prospects: LHP Ken Waldichuk, LHP JP Sears, RHP Luis Medina, and 2B Cooper Bowman. The Yankees also get reliever Lou Trivino in the deal.

What the Frankie Montas trade means for the Yankees

The Yankees have been motivated to acquire a starting pitcher this trade deadline. Although their rotation had a very good start to the year, they have fallen back down to Earth in the last month. Also, their bullpen has suffered some major blows this season. Chad Green underwent Tommy John Surgery back in May and Michael King, arguably their best reliever, suffered a season-ending fractured ankle earlier this month.

Frankie Montas will slot into the #2 roll in the Yankees rotation and delivers a fantastic 1-2 postseason punch behind Gerrit Cole. Montas also is under team control through the end of 2023.

What are the A’s getting?

Oakland received a solid return from New York in the Frankie Montas trade. The prize is left hander Ken Waldichuk. Waldichuk has been terrific in the minors this season. He has a sub 3.5 ERA across AA and AAA, and has racked up 116 strikeouts in only 76 IP. He has terrific stuff.

JP Sears has been solid for both the AAA team and the major league club. He has a great sinking fastball. His delivery and stuff is reminiscent of current Yankees reliever Zack Britton. Luis Medina has a terrific fastball that ranks as a 75 grade pitch and Cooper Bowman is in High-A and projects as a plus-plus runner and a solid defender. These prospects rank #5, #20, #10, and #21 in the Yankees system respectively.

Frankie Montas Trade Grades

Yankees: A

Athletics: A-

BREAKING NEWS: Brewers Trade Josh Hader to Padres

The Milwaukee Brewers trade pitcher Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres
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The San Diego Padres have acquired Josh Hader in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Hader has dominated the late innings for the Brewers, cementing himself as one of the best relievers in baseball. Now, he’s headed to the Padres, who seem to be pushing all the chips in for a World Series run.

In return for Hader, Milwaukee received reliever Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet, and prospects Robert Gasser and Esteury Ruiz, per Jeff Passan.

Why was Hader traded?

This move surprised the baseball world considering the Brewers are 57-45 and currently hold a three game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. Teams in first place don’t typically sell off stars, but Milwaukee saw an opportunity to maximize his value.

Hader will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and Devin Williams is waiting in the wings to become the team’s closer. One can argue at this point, Williams has already surpassed Hader, especially given Hader’s recent struggles.

San Diego is gunning for a championship and likely isn’t done making moves. It remains possible they trade for superstar Juan Soto, considering they kept the top prospects deemed necessary for such a trade.

The rundown on Hader

Hader is unique in a multitude of ways. He has a sidearm release that helps deceive batters and boosts his fastballs viability up in the zone. However, that fastball is actually a sinker, despite his tendency to elevate it. Hader can keep it in the upper-90s and uses it to complement a wipeout slider, too.

After starting the year strong, Hader scuffled in July, inflating his ERA to 4.24. Still, his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.47 and xFIP (expected FIP) of 2.41 help alleviate concerns. There’s no doubt the Padres’ trade for Hader netted them an elite late inning arm.

The return for the Josh Hader trade

A mix of big-league talent and prospects makes the Brewers intriguing beneficiaries in this deal. Rogers has also seen his share of struggles, but remains one of the top lefty arms in the sport. Now, he’ll likely be Williams’ set up man. The (also) side-arming southpaw has a 4.35 ERA and 2.35 FIP in 2022.

Lamet broke out during the 2020 season, but has struggled to perform amidst lingering injury concerns. He’s a project for one of baseball’s best coaching staffs to work on.

According to Baseball America, Ruiz and Gasser were the eighth and ninth best prospects in San Diego’s farm system, respectively. Ruiz is a toolsy outfielder who has made significant improvements in 2022. Gasser, a left-handed pitcher, will sit in the low-90s but offers impressive command and secondary offerings. He projects as a future back-end starter.

Ultimately, this deal was surprising, but not necessarily bad for either team. The Brewers were likely to lose Hader in 15 months anyway. In the Josh Hader trade, they balanced their present and future needs well. Nobody will care what San Diego gave up if they’re raising a trophy in October, and they’ve kept enough ammo to keep that dream alive with additional moves.