Cease was named minor-league Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Cease, 22, went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 124 innings between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. The right-hander ranked fourth among minor-league starters in wins, fourth in strikeout rate (32.5%), sixth in batting average allowed (.189) and 12th in strikeouts (160). ''We could not be more pleased with his development,'' general manager Rick Hahn said. ''Not only did Dylan take the ball every fifth day and answer the bell every time when we wanted him to start, but he dominated and seemingly got a little bit stronger as the season went on.'' Hahn alluded to Cease's dominant nine-start run to close out his season at Birmingham, when he went 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 13.4 K/9.
Cease threw six scoreless innings for Double-A Birmingham on Saturday, striking out nine while allowing one hit and no walks.
Cease has been rolling for the Barons. He hasn't allowed a run in 23 consecutive frames and is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his last six starts.
Cease retired the first 20 batters faced before allowing a hit in the seventh inning for Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday. He allowed the one hit and a walk while striking out 12 over seven innings.
Cease has handled his promotion to Double-A with aplomb, posting a 2.83 ERA while limiting opponents to a .188 batting average over his first five starts at the advanced level.
Cease was promoted to Double-A Birmingham on Thursday, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Cease met little resistance in his first taste of High-A ball, going 9-2 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 82:28 K:BB across 13 starts (71.2 innings) before being rewarded with a promotion. The 22-year-old right-hander will look to carry his success to Double-A, but more importantly he'll look to stay healthy as he's never logged more than 100 innings in a season as a pro -- topping out at 93.1 frames in 2017.
Cease tossed seven shutout innings while striking out 12 Tuesday for High-A Winston-Salem against Lynchburg. He allowed two hits and zero walks.
At one point in the 22-year-old righty's career outing he retired 19 batters in a row. Cease now ranks eighth among all minor-league pitchers with 36 strikeouts over 26.1 innings this season. He consistently threw his mid-90s fastball in this outing, reportedly touching 100 mph on the ballpark's radar gun, which is not a new development for the fireballer. Cease also credited mixing in his changeup in this one to keep hitters off his fastball, MiLB.com's Andrew Battifarano reports. The number one statistic to keep an eye on with Cease in 2018 is innings pitched. He has never topped 100 innings in a season as a pro (career-high 93.1 innings last year) and will need to start eclipsing that mark if he wants to shed the future reliever label.
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