GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the amazing results produced by right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease and outfielder Eloy Jimenez during the 2018 season, they really deserve their own separate stories to extol their virtues and list all their accolades.But much like their situation soon to play out in Chicago, Cease and Jimenez
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the amazing results produced by right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease and outfielder Eloy Jimenez during the 2018 season, they really deserve their own separate stories to extol their virtues and list all their accolades.
But much like their situation soon to play out in Chicago, Cease and Jimenez share the spotlight in this instance as the MLB Pipeline Pitching and Hitting Prospects of the Year within the White Sox organization. It doesn't make the individual praise any less.
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"He definitely has big league stuff," said catcher Zack Collins of Cease, with the two working together at Double-A Birmingham in '18. "I don't care who is up at the plate. I don't care if it's Michael Trout. Just what he was showing was incredible. He's pumping 98 in there and then throwing 86-mph changeups 3-2. It was like, it was just incredible."
"I would say if there's one player who took the greatest strides, it would be Dylan Cease," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz.
Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Numerous candidates for these awards stood out for the White Sox during Year 2 of their much-ballyhooed rebuild. But Cease and Jimenez emerged as the clear-cut choices.
Cease, the No. 25 prospect overall and No. 3 for the White Sox, was named MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year overall. He finished 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA over 23 starts combined for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, striking out 160 over a career-high 124 innings pitched with an opponents' average of .189. In 10 starts for the Barons, Cease posted a 3-0 record with a 1.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.
Jimenez, the top White Sox prospect and No. 3 prospect in the game, featured a combined .337 average with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, 75 RBIs and a .961 OPS during stops at Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. His Charlotte numbers were off the charts, with a .355 average, .996 OPS, 12 homers and 33 RBIs.
Jimenez didn't get a Major League callup in September, with the White Sox wanting him to continue focusing on defense and fine-tuning his complete and immense skillset.
"His motivation to be great is going to make him great," said White Sox outfield/baserunning coordinator Aaron Rowand of Jimenez. "Obviously, the talent level is through the roof. But there's been a lot of guys who have a ton of talent but don't have the drive to be great.
"A lot of them make it and play in the big leagues and whatnot, but you look at them and go like, 'There could have been a lot more there.' I don't think that's going to be the case with Eloy. Eloy is driven. He wants to be great in all aspects of his game. I know he's going to go home and get his offseason program and workouts and stuff in and come back with the mission of making that team."
Yoan Moncada and Alec Hansen won these individual White Sox awards for the 2017 season. Cease and Jimenez can revel in their past season's accomplishments while looking toward a Major League arrival.
"It's nice to dream about and definitely through the grind you need something to keep you a little motivated and going," said Cease, concerning the Major Leagues after taking part in the White Sox's four-day mini-camp at Camelback Ranch this week. "I'll think about it. I'll prepare for it, but at the end of the day it's not my main focus. I've got to control what I can control.
"I try not to have huge expectations. It's more of I'm trying to figure out what to do in this moment to be the best pitcher I can be. I know that I have a lot of ability and potential, so for me it was just about what I can do to enhance that and see where it takes me."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.