*HOPEFULLY* this is not serious.
Top Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Dylan Cease left tonight’s start with the South Bend Cubs after attempting to cover third base on a play in the infield. The official word on the departure from the team:
After hustling to cover third base with a runner on 2nd and 1 out, Dylan Cease exits the game T2 with a lower body injury. Swarmer to pitch
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) May 18, 2017
Injury information on minor leaguers is always more scarce and protected than at the big league level, but folks in attendance say it was his right ankle:
— Jeff Lamb (@Jefflamb21) May 19, 2017
Cease, 21, was the organization’s pitcher of the month in April, and was already among the top 100 prospects in baseball. He was sporting a 2.23 ERA through his first seven starts this year (32.1 innings), and had a whopping 50 strikeouts coming into tonight. He has a ways to go on his command, but he already has a plus-plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a developing changeup. Hitters at this level can’t really do much with him when he’s on.
As I said above, hopefully we’ll find that this is not a serious injury – the fact that he departed the game isn’t necessarily determinative, because if he was down in any kind of pain at all, he was not going to stay in that game no matter how temporary the discomfort.
One silver lining here is that Cease, who pitched only 44.2 innings total last year, was possibly not going to accrue a full minor league season’s worth of innings this year anyway. He had Tommy John surgery after the draft in 2014, and then dealt with some other injury issues last year. Maybe this bump in the road will give his arm the little break that it was going to get at some point anyway. I am, of course, speculating in service of positivity.
We’ll let you know if and when there’s more available on Cease’s injury.