Chicago White Sox: 2021 grade for Dallas Keuchel

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Dallas Keuchel did not have a good year for the Chicago White Sox. On an elite pitching staff, he was very mediocre in the first half of the season, and then he became pretty bad in the second half. He wasn’t the worst pitcher of all time during the year but he certainly failed to meet the expectations that he has brought on himself.

After being one of the best pitchers in the American League during the 2020 season, he fell off hard when this season came around. He didn’t need to be a top-five Cy Young Award vote-getter but he did need to be much better than that and he wasn’t.

He had a record of 9-9 but most of those losses came in the second half of the year. He finished with a 5.28 ERA, a WHIP of 1.531, and 95 strikeouts. All of those stats accumulated a 0.0 WAR which is far below where his fellow starting pitchers finished on the season.

He was the only full time starter that failed to reach 100 strikeouts, seeing relievers like Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks finish with more than him in significantly fewer innings. Strikeouts are not a part of Keuchel’s game, however. He is known for creating contact and allowing his team to play defense.

Unfortunately, Keuchel’s control was very spotty for most of the year. Combine that with his soft-tossing mentality and teams crushed him. If he is going to pitch that way, he needs to have perfect control of his pitches and he didn’t.

It was tough to watch at times because we know how good Keuchel has been in his career. Nobody wants to see a former champion and Cy Young Award winner pitch like that. All of these performances led to him being left off the playoff roster in favor of pitchers that you would never think to make it over him going into the season.

The only positive that came from this season for Keuchel was the fact that he is still an elite defensive pitcher. When the ball is hit in his direction, he is the best in the game at fielding it and throwing the hitter out.

That was proven by his fifth career Gold Glove that he won. His 12 defensive runs saved were double the second highest. That went into him winning the award. Good pitching stats aren’t needed for a Gold Glove so you can absolutely say he deserved it.

Dallas Keuchel needs to be better for the Chicago White Sox in the 2022 season.

2021 Final Grade: D

Dallas Keuchel probably gets an F in a lot of people’s minds but it isn’t fair. He was okay to start the season and the White Sox banked a lot of much-needed wins in that time. He also won the Gold Glove so it wasn’t all bad in terms of his impact.

The D is a perfect grade for him because he wasn’t good but there were things he did well at certain points. However, if he comes out next season and has a similar performance, it is going to be an F because this team can’t be wasting years on players trying to figure out big-time struggles.

2022 Expectations:

Speaking of next season, it is going to be huge for Keuchel. They need to take another step as an organization so his leash is going to be short. Unless they are able to do a bad contract for bad contract type trade, he will get a chance but he needs to pitch well to stick around. There are plenty of better pitchers to get those starts.

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