It’s been a little bit, but we finally have an MLB trade news alert! Step aside, NFL Free Agency! The San Diego Padres have acquired Dylan Cease just one week before the team’s first game of the regular season in Seoul. 

The 28-year-old right-hander finished second in Cy Young voting back in 2022, and he’s now amassed at least 165 IP and 200+ strikeouts in three straight seasons. There were thoughts that a team like the New York Yankees could make a move for Cease, given the injury news to Gerrit Cole, but alas, the Padres swoop in and add Cease to its rotation one week before the season opener. 




In the return, the Chicago White Sox received prospects Drew Thorpe and Jairo Iriarte. What are the fantasy baseball impacts of this move? Let’s investigate what this could mean for Cease’s fantasy baseball ADP.

To be fair, after posting a 2.20 ERA in 2022, he was bound for regression, as it was going to be a tall task to replicate his 82.3 LOB%, and his 3.10 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 4.10 SIERA corroborate that notion. The slide was rather drastic in 2023, however, as his 4.58 ERA was his highest since 2019, and a .330 BABIP didn’t do him any favors. 

His 2022 season saw the lowest usage on his fastball in any of his big-league seasons, but in 2023, he increased the usage on his fastball at the expense of his slider. Cease boasts an excellent slider that has posted a whiff rate of at least 43 percent each of the last three seasons, and it’s one of the best of its kind in all of baseball.

Cease is exceptional at missing bats, and the whiffs won’t be going anywhere. He has a 29.8 percent strikeout rate over the last three seasons, not to mention a 14.5 SwStr% during that span. In terms of his strikeout production, he has the third-highest K/9 and 9th-highest strikeout rate amongst qualified starters over the last three seasons, and donning his new colors, he’ll remain elite in the strikeout department. 

On the other hand, he does have the fifth-highest BB/9 and fifth-highest walk rate during that same stretch, so it would behoove the Padres to try to harness his command. However, he’ll enjoy the friendly confines of Petco Park, which is one of the better pitcher parks in all of Major League baseball.

Overall, Cease enjoys a nice bump to his fantasy value, as he heads to a better pitcher’s park and will have a far more potent offense supporting him when he toes the rubber.




The White Sox netted two right-handed pitching prospects in Thorpe and Iriarte, both of whom were within the top 10 prospects of the Padres’ system per Matt Selz’s rankings here at Fantasy Alarm. Thorpe is the Selz’s No. 10 pitching prospect overall, and Iriarte is 38th. 

Additionally, Chicago received Samuel Zavala, a 19-year-old outfielder who ranked fifth in the Padres’ system and inside the top 30 in the outfield overall. These two right-handers and young outfielder figure to rank rather high in a Chicago farm system that needed some additional talent. 

Thorpe doesn’t win with overpowering velocity, but a 70-grade changeup has helped him post excellent strikeout numbers in the minors. Between 139.1 IP at A+ and AA, Thorpe has amassed a 182:38 K/BB ratio. There’s a chance we see Thorpe in the bigs near the end of this season, but with the White Sox likely years away from competing, White Sox fans and fantasy managers may have to wait until 2025 to see the headliner from the Juan Soto trade.

Iriarte reached Double-A last season, making seven starts and six relief appearances there. His 15.65 K/9 is quite impressive to say the least, good for a 40.5 percent strikeout rate, but the one constant with Iriarte has been some command issues. 

The White Sox would be best suited to leave him as a starter and attempt to harness some of the command issues that have plagued him, but they could choose to send him the reliever route, likely resulting in an earlier arrival to the bigs. However, again, he has the stuff and makeup of a starter, but he could certainly thrive in a relief role.




Zavala is just 19-years-old and doesn’t turn 20 until July! In 101 Games at Single-A last season, he hit 14 home runs and stole 20 bases while slashing .267/.420/.451. The early returns are that he has a solid feel of the strike zone, and his willingness to take a walk is impressive for a guy at his age. 

Ideally, the strikeout rate will come down, but as the young left-handed hitter continues to develop and mature, it’s easy to see the upside with him. To say the least, a very interesting young prospect is heading to Chicago here.

The White Sox also get Steven Wilson in the deal, a 29-year-old right-hander with 106 IP in the majors under his belt with a 3.48 ERA and 25.4 percent strikeout rate. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, so leaving Petco may prove to be a bit unfriendly to him.

From a fantasy perspective, Cease is the biggest winner here in terms of fantasy value for 2024. He gets a park upgrade and will be pitching for a better offense than what he would have been in Chicago. The prospects that Chicago received won’t be prominent fantasy producers this season, and while Steven Wilson likely holds a bullpen role, there’s not enough there to warrant any fantasy consideration. 

Cease should move up a few spots in the pitcher ranks at ADP, but remember, while the strikeout rate will remain elite, he does tend to carry a slightly elevated WHIP, due to his walk rate.