Charlotte Knights Dylan Cease is making case for “The Show”
The move from AAA baseball to the major leagues is usually not seamless.
Dylan Cease was promoted from the Charlotte Knights to the Chicago White Sox earlier this month and won his first game as a major league pitcher.
But typically, the players who fared so well in Charlotte have dealt with a period of adjustment in the majors. For some of those former Knights, the pieces appear to be falling into place.
Here’s a look at some recent Knights players called up to Chicago, and how they’re faring in the big leagues:
Cease: He made his first Chicago appearance July 3 against Detroit, going five innings and earning the victory. He’s had nearly two weeks to rest and is scheduled for his second outing Tuesday night against Kansas City. Cease, 23, gave up a pair of first-inning runs but settled down to pitch shutout ball the rest of the way.
Now he’s a regular in the White Sox’ five-man pitching rotation.
“As long as I don’t let it get to my head and don’t put too much pressure on myself – and just worry about my process – good things should happen,” Cease told reporters afterward.
Eloy Jimenez: A 22-year-old left-fielder, Jimenez was a power-hitting terror when he was called up from Class AA Birmingham to Charlotte in the middle of the 2018 season. He started the 2019 campaign in Chicago, and it didn’t go well.
Jimenez struggled at the plate and missed several weeks with an ankle injury. But things really turned around in June. He had three multi-home run games and clubbed a game-winning homer against the Chicago Cubs. For the season, he has 17 homers and 39 RBI and is batting .244. That batting average climbed about 20 points in June.
Yoan Moncada: A few years ago, Moncada was the bright light in the White Sox farm organization. After a strong performance in Charlotte, the second baseman had a not-so-great 2018 season with the White Sox.
This year, Moncada, 24, has come into his own. He is batting .306, with 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 49 RBI. His .533 slugging average leads the White Sox.
Lucas Giolito: Giolito, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher, went 6-10 in 128.2 innings with the Knights in 2017. He struggled a bit last year but made the AL All-Star team and pitched in last week’s game. He has an 11-3 record with a 3.15 ERA.
Dylan Covey: Covey, a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher, is still making the trip back and forth between Charlotte and Chicago. He is 1-5 with the White Sox this season. He was 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA in seven appearances last season with the Knights.
Carson Fulmer: Fulmer, 25, another righty, has pitched in parts of four seasons with the Knights and is 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA this season in Chicago.
Michael Kopech: His development was closely watched the past several years in the White Sox organization, and he finally got the call-up to Chicago last August. But an injury and Tommy John surgery has put Kopech out of action this season.
Here is a look at how the Knights fared during the past week, and what’s ahead:
Tuesday-Wednesday: During the All-Star break, outfielder Luis Robert was promoted from AA Birmingham to Charlotte. And infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. was released by the White Sox organization. In addition, White Sox catcher Wellington Castillo was sent to Charlotte to rehab a muscle injury.
Thursday: Robert’s debut in AAA was a huge success. He went 3-for-5, with a grand slam and a two-run homer, as the Knights outslugged Gwinnett 15-12.
Friday: Gwinnett touched Charlotte pitcher Justin Nicolino for six runs in six innings and beat the Knights 9-3.
Saturday: Ryan Goins had three hits, including a home run, but the Knights lost 8-5 to Gwinnett.
Sunday: Wellington Castillo slammed a three-run homer for Charlotte, but the Knights lost 5-4 to Gwinnett.
Week ahead: The Knights started a four-game series in Buffalo on Monday. They then play in Pawtucket, R.I., to play the Red Sox on Friday through Sunday. The Knights return home July 23.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle