The Chicago White Sox seem to have a plethora of starting pitching already at the major league level. While starters Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon seemed to have been on their way out at the end of 2020, they have both carved out a place on the White Sox staff. While Rodon has proved to be a front-line starter in 2021, his arm seems to be getting worn down by a workload of 132.2 innings. Carlos hasn’t seen this many innings since 2016 when he threw a career-high 165.0 innings. Sitting 90-92 on his fastball last night was not a promising sign although he only allowed 1 hit through 5.0 innings. Carlos’ fastball has touched 100 this season. The fact that Carlos only struck out 4 while walking 2 is alarming, being that Rodon has averaged a team-high 12.6 K’s per nine. Lopez took a different path in 2021 finding a home as a long man at the front of the bullpen who would occasionally give the Sox a spot start when needed. Lopez has been a pleasant surprise for Chicago, by carrying a 2.98 ERA and an impressive 0.89 WHIP in 57.1 IP thus far in 2021. While the 2 players have done themselves a world of favors going forward, it remains to be seen how they finish the postseason, and what will come of them in 2022. Will either one find the rotation on the Southside in 2022?
Relievers becoming Starters
Michael Kopech is the front of the line when it comes to additions to the White Sox starting rotation in 2022. Kopech has looked brilliant at times out of the bullpen this season and seems to be as healthy as ever. While Kopech’s 2 pitch combination of 100+ mph fastball and a nasty slider have served him well out of the pen this season, adding a changeup more consistently, and possibly a 4th pitch to his repertoire would be monumental moving forward as a starter in 2022. Lucas Giolito is the perfect example of what I mean adding a 3rd and possible 4th pitch to Micahel’s pitch selection could do for him. Lucas had relied mostly on a fastball and changeup combination for the better part of 2 years until mid-season this year. He added a slider to his mix more consistently, and this has done wonders for Lucas. Teams seemed to be keying on his changeup and were starting to get to him with some regularity this season. Garrett Crochet was drafted 11th overall out of Tennessee in 2020 and went to the bigs and straight to the bullpen. This doesn’t mean he will stay there. They used a similar approach with Chris Sale when he was called up. Will either or both of these flamethrowers see the rotation in 2022. Some question if there will be room for them.
While Lucas Giolito seems to deserve a new contract the White Sox have been known to be cheap and I don’t see Gio giving Jerry Reinsdorf a discount. That being said, I think Rick Hahn finds a way to squeeze Jerry for enough to get Lucas an extension as he did with Lance Lynn during this season. Dallas Keuchel on the other hand is expensive and in my opinion, hasn’t earned his checks this year. Do the Sox believe Dallas can find himself enough to get that 5.13 ERA back down where his career numbers are at 3.76? Dallas is on the books for the next 2 years at 18 million and 20 million respectively. This seems to me like a contract that needs some overhaul considering no Sox fans want to see him pitch in the 2021 postseason. Even if he were to return to form, will there be room for him?
While we’ve been over a few guys who have over and underperformed this season let’s take a look at a few guys we know will be in the rotation for at least the start of the 2022 season. Dylan Cease has grown tremendously this year and is an absolute star in the making. Dylan has the best movement on his breaking balls on the staff and carries a fastball that typically sits 97-100. That’s elite stuff and he’s only getting better. I have a feeling Dylan will advance to more of a 1 or 2 guy in the rotation rather than a 3 or 4. Lance Lynn is well, Lance Lynn, and is having one of his best seasons as a pro carrying a 2.72 ERA and a 1.072 WHIP. Who doesn’t love Lance Lynn? Lucas as I said before I think will be back on a new deal. As long as he continues to develop the slider and mix his pitches, he should stay at or near the top of this rotation. With Ethan Katz on board, my gut tells me Lucas wants to be on the Southside.
2022 White Sox Starting Rotation
This is just my opinion but I think the Sox open 2022 with this rotation.
While guys like Garrett Crochet, Dallas Keuchel, and Reynaldo Lopez would all love to be in this rotation, these 5 guys have earned their respective spots. Until 1 of them falls off a cliff or runs into an injury I don’t see them not starting the year with the opportunity. All of this pitching is a great problem to have but something Rick Hahn, Kenny Williams, and Tony LaRussa will have to figure out. Being able to put out this rotation without addressing pitching in free agency is a testament to the job Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams have done building this roster. A ton of young talent coupled with some serious veteran experience means a lot of success in the future on the Southside of Chicago!
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