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Cease impressing in ascent through farm system

Right-hander among prospects garnering attention from White Sox
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech get all the attention, but a White Sox prospect who's succeeded mostly under the radar this season has been right-hander Dylan Cease.

Cease, whom the White Sox acquired with Jimenez for Jose Quintana last season, had yet to throw more than 93 1/3 innings in a professional season coming into the year. But the team's No. 5 prospect per MLBPipeline has already surpassed that total before the end of July.

CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech get all the attention, but a White Sox prospect who's succeeded mostly under the radar this season has been right-hander Dylan Cease.

Cease, whom the White Sox acquired with Jimenez for Jose Quintana last season, had yet to throw more than 93 1/3 innings in a professional season coming into the year. But the team's No. 5 prospect per MLBPipeline has already surpassed that total before the end of July.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged Cease's consistency before Friday's game against Toronto, praising his ability to continue pitching well after a promotion to Double-A Birmingham.

"We really viewed him entering this year similar to how we viewed Kopech a year prior," Hahn said. "Kid with electric stuff, kid with a very high ceiling and someone who had yet to be able to physically take the ball every fifth day.

"So just as it was with Michael a year ago, we wanted Dylan to take the ball every fifth day, and we were pretty sure if he was going to do that, the performance was going to be good," Hahn added. "Similarly to Michael, Dylan has dominated early at a good placement level for his age and forced the issue and forced us to bring him to Double-A -- where he's continued to pitch as well, if not even better. That's great."

Cease has thrown 100 1/3 innings this season between Birmingham and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. In five starts at Birmingham (28 2/3 innings), Cease owns a 2.83 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 11 walks. He threw seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball in his last start on Wednesday while fanning 12 batters.

Here is a rundown of other notable White Sox prospects:

Eloy Jimenez, OF, Triple-A Charlotte
Even though Jimenez has struggled at times to stay on the field, he continues to rake whenever he's in the lineup.

Now with 102 plate appearances under his belt with Charlotte, Jimenez looks like he's having no issue adjusting, hitting .383 with a 1.113 OPS and seven home runs. Jimenez also owns another impressive hit streak, hitting safely in his past nine games and in 15 of his past 16.

Additionally, Jimenez has four three-hit games over his last seven starts. Though he's missed time, Jimenez has slugged 17 home runs between Birmingham and Charlotte in 299 combined at-bats.

Video: Eloy Jimenez on working hard, preparing for Majors

Steele Walker, OF, Rookie-level Great Falls
The White Sox second-round pick in 2018 is already finding success in his first professional go-around.

Walker slots in as the club's No. 12 prospect in his first appearance on MLBPipeline's list, and he has hit in five of his first six games with the Great Falls Voyagers. He went deep in his first Pioneer League at-bat and owns a .250/.348/.450 slash line so far.

Walker spent a few days at the team's Arizona complex as well before being moved to Great Falls, going 5-for-11 in four games. In the summer of 2016, he led the Northwoods League in hitting with a .406 average, illustrating his comfort and experience with wooden bats.

Luis Robert, OF, Class A Advanced Winston-Salem
Robert has been sidelined with a left thumb injury since the end of June, but he could be nearing a rehab assignment. Hahn said Friday that Robert could participate in some rehab games at the club's Arizona facility and then return to Winston-Salem "in the not-too-distant future."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Cease