People will always remember the 2021 Chicago White Sox season for a variety of reasons. Truly, it was one of the best years in the history of the team. They made the playoffs in a consecutive year for the first time in franchise history thanks to their 93-69 record. It was a record good enough to win them the American League Central for the first time since 2008.
There were a lot of bad injuries to some of the star offensive players that forced some rookies and veterans to step up and play well. They certainly did that and scored enough runs to support their outstanding pitching staff.
It is clear that pitching was a major key to success for them in 2021 as mostly everyone did their part to contribute. Ethan Katz was brought in to replace Don Cooper as the new pitching coach and did a marvelous job. The bullpen was steady but the real key to the team was the starting rotation. It was even better than some people might remember.
Dallas Keuchel was the only member of the rotation that had a tough year. The former Cy Young winner had a fine start but really fell off after the All-Star break. By the end of the year, he wasn’t even in the mix to be in the playoff rotation. Outside of him, the group was brilliant.
The Chicago White Sox had four starters look like aces for them in 2021.
Lance Lynn was acquired for Dane Dunning in the offseason prior to the 2021 season. He came in and had a third-place finish for the American League Cy Young Award. The way he pitched and the way that he carried himself was very relatable and fun to watch.
Carlos Rodon wasn’t far behind him with a fifth-place Cy Young finish. He probably would have won the award if he didn’t deal with some arm soreness at the end of the season which caused him to miss starts. For someone who was given a second chance coming into the year, he took his opportunity and ran with it which will get him a lot of money.
Lucas Giolito had a tough start but really got back to being that elite pitcher later in the season. He was so good down the stretch that he looked like the ace we know he can be. He ended up finishing 11th in the Cy Young vote.
Then there is Dylan Cease who was just magnificent himself. His name didn’t appear on the Cy Young ballot but he probably should have at least a little bit. It took him some time to get it really going but once he found his stuff, he was awesome.
Every single pitcher on the staff (besides Keuchel) had a stretch where they were the best option. That made them form one of the best rotations in the entire league. The big four had a combined WAR of 17.6 which is just outstanding. We can only hope that they recreate it in 2022.