First-team preseason All-American Dylan Cease will not pitch at the National High School Invitational, which begins on Wednesday in Cary, N.C., at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
The Milton (Ga.) High righthander has not pitched since leaving in the fifth inning of his outing on March 3 with elbow soreness. The temperature during the game was at or around freezing, according to scouts in attendance. Cease, who had been up to 98 this spring, started the game at 93-94 mph but fell to as low as 86 in the fifth inning. Cease had an MRI on March 21.
“(There is) definitely no UCL tear but the doctor wants to have someone else look at it and make a call next week on how to proceed with rehab,” Milton coach Joey Ray said. “Either way he won’t pitch for the next few weeks. Big bummer for our team but good news is Dylan will be OK.”
Cease, a Vanderbilt signee, has been in the lineup in all but one game since March 3 and been long-tossing, though elbow soreness remains. Evaluators are hoping that it is tendinitis and he will return in a few weeks.
This marks the third consecutive year that one of the top arms suffered an injury prior to the NHSI. Lucas Giolito’s elbow prevented him from throwing in the inaugural 2012 event. Jordan Sheffield suffered an injury weeks prior to the NHSI in 2013 and had Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. This is the second pitcher lost to injury this year, as Regis Jesuit (Denver) lefthander David Peterson fractured his right fibula in the first week of March.
Cease is an athletic, lean 6-foot-1, 175-pounder with long limbs. He has a quick, whip-like arm that produces mid-90s velocity. He showed inconsistent control on the showcase circuit, and his breaking ball was also inconsistent.
Cease was a breakout star of the NHSI last year, when he ran his fastball up to 95 mph as an underclassman.