Dylan Cease has been ineffably good this season.
He was named pitcher of the month for the White Sox in the American League in June and is on the cusp of winning back-to-back selections for the month of July.
Against the rest of the competition in the majors, Cease ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.4), second in strikeouts (161), third in ERA (2.01) and fourth in wins (11). In his last 11 starts, he's held a 0.42 ERA, the second-lowest ERA from an 11-game span in MLB history.
His stuff has been unbelievable.
Cease has made a strong case thus far for being an AL Cy Young award contender. He was snubbed from being an All-Star, which is unthinkable, considering he's one of the best pitchers in the league.
But, his performance this season is not going unnoticed. Since his rise to the top, other pitchers in the clubhouse want to figure out what he's doing right.
"It's funny because last year a lot of guys he looked up to and kinda asked a lot of questions," pitching coach Ethan Katz said on Unfiltered with NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan. "Not to say the tables have turned, but now there's more guys asking him questions. Like 'Hey, your slider, how you hold it? What are you trying to do with it?' It's kinda funny to see the process of one year to another."
Outside of Cease and Johnny Cueto, the other starters have seen plenty of uphill battles this season. Lance Lynn has struggled since coming off his surgery from his right knee. Lucas Giolito admitted to needing work on his mechanics and fastball. And, Michael Kopech is still navigating his way as a first-year starter.
As a pitching staff, the White Sox rank 17th in the league in ERA (3.97), 24th in WHIP (1.33) and 18th in opposing batting average (.245). The bullpen has suffered injuries and obstacles from the starters have combined for tough outings.
On the other side, everything seems to be clicking for Cease. His slider is mesmerizing, his sequencing is phenomenal and he's striking out batters at a league-leading volume. His starts account for undeniable wins, putting him in an auto-win mode.
His season has been so good, not only are other pitchers from the Sox coming to him for advice, but Katz claims he and Cease both have received questions from other pitchers around the league. Cease is becoming a popular figure around the MLB-world this season.
Hopefully, some of the recent success from other starters can be attributed to Cease's help. On Monday night, Kopech pitched seven innings, the most he's pitched as a starter. He went for 100 pitches and allowed just two earned runs.
Amidst the potential changes to the clubhouse via the trade deadline, it's convenient to know Cease is becoming a leader in the clubhouse and maintaining an equilibrium amongst the pitching staff.
"Dylan's the best. He's a lot of fun," Katz said. "A lot of joy everyday, coming to the ballpark to work with. He works his tail off and he's pretty easygoing. It's been a lot of fun. He's a treat to watch, too, when he's pitching."