After an exciting season in 2020, the Chicago White Sox are poised to take the next step in their development. Although they made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the White Sox are determined to be more than a first-round exit in 2021. Many baseball fans know the White Sox to be a powerful offensive force, but the rotation is just as lethal. Moreover, here is the projected pitching rotation for the 2021 Chicago White Sox.
1.) Lucas Giolito
After being the worst starting pitcher in baseball in 2018, Giolito completely turned his career around with two great seasons. After working on his release Giolito was able to finish top seven in Cy Young voting two years in a row. Last season Giolito did a great job of limiting hits allowed with a H/9 below six and a no-hitter. He also struck out a tremendous amount of batters with a K/9 above 12.
Looking ahead, Giolito should have an even better season in 2021. The White Sox hired a new pitching coach this offseason in Ethan Katz whom Giolito worked with in high school. That relationship should develop Giolito even more. Giolito has expectations as high as winning the Cy Young in 2021. If he can improve his control and continue to strike out a lot of batters, his potential will be sky-high. Given that players and coaches constantly rave about his work ethic, he should only improve in 2021.
2.) Dallas Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel is coming off of a great season in 2020. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting with a 1.089 WHIP and a 1.99 ERA. He did a tremendous job limiting home runs allowing two all season long and he led the league with a 0.3 HR/9. Many did not expect the lefty to have a season like that after his poor 2019 season with Atlanta, but Keuchel seems to be back in his all-star form.
If the White Sox can get similar production in 2021 from Keuchel that they got in 2020, they will be in great shape to compete for the pennant. Being one of the veterans on such a young club, Keuchel will be critical in developing a lot of the younger pitchers on the White Sox staff. In addition to his pitching, his presence in the locker room will be helpful for the south siders.
3.) Lance Lynn
The White Sox acquired Lance Lynn from the Rangers back in December in exchange for Dane Dunning and their sixth-round pick in 2019 Avery Williams. That move should give the White Sox more depth in their starting rotation giving the White Sox an incredibly tough big three.
Lynn is an incredibly reliable starter, as he is first in the MLB in innings pitched and starts since 2019. He had a career year in 2020 posting a 1.060 WHIP and a 3.32 ERA. In addition, he kept his H/9 under seven and struck out almost ten batters per nine innings. If he can get his control together and limit the long ball, he can be the final piece that helps the White Sox get to their first World Series since 2005.
4.) Dylan Cease
Dylan Cease had an interesting year in 2020. He started off slowly but got better as the season went on. August was where he was at his best, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.13 ERA. The walks were an issue however as he walked 5.2 batters per nine. The control needs to improve for Cease to take that next step in becoming an elite pitcher.
What can the White Sox expect from Cease in 2021? There is a lot of optimism coming from teammates and coaches heading into the season. Yasmani Grandal said he believes Dylan Cease has the tools to win a Cy Young. Ethan Katz added on and called Cease’s stuff untouchable. However, the walks need to come down and he needs to get his control together to live up to that potential. If Cease can continue to make progress like he did in 2020, he can be a key piece for the White Sox late in their rotation.
5.) Carlos Rodon
The fifth spot in the White Sox rotation has been up for grabs all offseason. There was talk about Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez or even 2020 first-round pick Garret Crochet. After manager Tony La Russa stated that Kopech and Crochet will come out of the bullpen to begin the season, the expectation is for Rodon to claim the fifth spot.
In spring training, Ethan Katz said that he noticed some issues with Rodon that he is fixing. Moreover, he talked about how the left side of his lower body needs to be more stable. Rodon’s career began with a lot of hype and expectations however, injuries have been an issue that Rodon has had trouble overcoming. Nevertheless, a lot of White Sox fans believe Ethan Katz can turn Rodon’s career around.
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