MORE: College commitments | Dylan Cease profile
Call it the rich getting richer, but the Vanderbilt Commodores have made yet another statement on the college baseball recruiting trail by landing one of the nation's elite 2014 prospects in Georgia product and right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease.
Cease, a Perfect Game All-American, who's ranked No. 12 nationally, No. 2 in Georgia and flashed a fastball anywhere from 95-97 in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in August, chose the Commodores over almost every power program in the Southeastern United States, including in-state Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and South Carolina.
"The first thing that stands out about Dylan Cease is that he doesn't stand out physically. He has a slender, young middle infielder's body that projects to get stronger in the future and he was, in fact, a primary middle infielder for much of his baseball past. But the thing that really stands out about Cease is how hard he throws with such little effort," PG VP of Player Personnel David Rawnsley said. "He can sit in the mid-90s consistently and with life and command and not go out of his physical envelope to do it. He's going to have to improve his curveball and change up but he's still young as a pitcher and that will come, along with more strength. He's a first round type talent who is going to just keep getting better over time."
Though Cease has a middle infielder's body at this point in his career, his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame allows for some growth, and with that, perhaps even more velocity on his offerings.
Cease already has some very advanced aspects of his game. For instance, he has a fastball that was up to 96-97 in the Perfect Game All-American Classic. During other events this past summer, Cease sat anywhere from 92-97. Meanwhile, though his secondary offerings could use some fine-tuning, Cease sits at 76-78 with his curveball and 79-81 with the changeup.
On the surface, when looking at Cease's low-effort delivery combined with the velocity on his fastball, and factoring in he's ranked No. 12 nationally, there's no doubt at this stage the right-hander will be an elite MLB draft prospect come next summer, barring unforeseen circumstances, of course.
However, while some will go ahead and chalk up Cease as a loss for the Commodores because of the draft possibility, the doubters might want to tap their brakes a bit.
Vanderbilt has history with elite prospects in the draft … good history.
The Commodores are most known for luring right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede -- a first-round pick to the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB draft -- to campus at the signing deadline despite being a first-round pick. But that decision was only the tip of the iceberg for head coach Tim Corbin and his coaching staff.
Though the Commodores lost Kevin Comer to the Blue Jays as a first-round supplemental pick in that draft, their history of luring elite prospects to campus in the Music City is impressive. That same year, left-handed pitcher Philip Pfeifer was the No. 59 prospect nationally and his signability was in question enough that he dropped to the Rangers in the 44th round.
In 2012, right-handed pitchers Carson Fulmer (No. 57 nationally) and Walker Buehler (No. 67 nationally) were deemed tough signs and slid to the teen rounds. The same goes for Massachusetts product and now sophomore outfielder Rhett Wiseman, who was the No. 58 prospect nationally out of high school.
In 2013, right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield (No. 38), left-handed pitcher John Kilichowski (No. 168) and Karl Ellison (No. 180) all chose to attend college, with Kilichowski and Ellison going undrafted and Sheffield turning down overtures as a 13th-round pick.
Cease, a Milton, Ga., native, becomes the fifth top 200 prospect the Commodores have committed for the 2014 recruiting class. Other recruits in that department include left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield (No. 19), outfielder Jeren Kendall (No. 59), shortstop Liam Sabino (No. 84) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright (No. 147).
Vanderbilt's '14 recruiting class currently is ranked No. 8 nationally.