(CBS) While outfielder Eloy Jimenez was the headline-grabbing and highest-profile prospect the White Sox received from the Cubs in the five-player deal that saw them part ways with left-hander Jose Quintana on Thursday, right-hander Dylan Cease was the other key component.
And he’s one who has quite a high ceiling, MLBPipeline.com’s Jim Callis told the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score on Friday morning.
“This guy can hit 100,” Callis said. “Going back to his high school days, he’s always had a power curveball. Because he’s missed a lot of time, the Cubs have taken it very easy on him. He needed Tommy John when they took him. I don’t think — if I remember correctly — that he made a start of more than five innings, and very few of those in his first couple in ’15 and ’16 when he got back on the mound, and they just started turning him loose. He’s still working on the changeup. The control and command are still works in progress also.
“Right now, you’re looking at the guy as a potential guy in the front half of the rotation somewhere. And if that doesn’t work out, he definitely has closer stuff.
The 21-year-old Cease has actually made one start in his three-year professional career of more than five innings, but Callis’ point was spot on. The Cubs have utilized a cautious approach with him after he had Tommy John surgery in 2014. He hasn’t thrown more than 92 pitches in any of his 13 starts this season, and his pitch count is usually in the 70s or low 80s. Cease has been strong though, with a 2.79 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.
Listen to Callis’ full interview below.