But Giolito and Keuchel rank Nos. 1 and 2 as far as the White Sox rotation goes, with added help most likely on the way this offseason.
Keuchel, 32, posted a 6-2 record with a 1.99 ERA over 11 starts in his first season of a three-year, $55.5 million deal with the South Siders. Keuchel’s ERA was second in the AL only to the 1.63 of Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, who was the unanimous AL Cy Young winner. Keuchel received five second-place votes, four for third place, five for fourth and four for fifth for a total of 46 points, leaving him five points behind Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu for third in the total voting.
Giolito, 26, put together a second straight strong season with a 4-3 record and 3.48 ERA over 12 starts. His 97 strikeouts ranked second in the AL to Bieber's 122, while his .184 average against was third best and his 1.04 WHIP was sixth best.
On Aug. 25, in front of a plethora of cardboard cutouts at Guaranteed Rate Field, the right-hander no-hit the Pirates in a 4-0 victory. His first career no-hitter featured 13 strikeouts and one four-pitch walk issued to Erik Gonzalez opening the fourth. Giolito received three third-place votes, two for fourth and five for fifth after finishing tied for sixth in last year’s AL Cy Young voting.
A great deal of young White Sox talent currently sits behind this one-two rotation punch, led by Dane Dunning and Dylan Cease, who combined for 19 starts in 2020. Michael Kopech, the team’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, should return for the '21 season, while the White Sox have contractual tender decisions to make on Reynaldo López and Carlos Rodón by Dec. 2. But a team with its target on a World Series championship needs another veteran or two.
Trevor Bauer, who won the National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, is a free agent and one possibility. Jake Odorizzi and Jose Quintana, who pitched for the White Sox from 2012-17, are also free-agent options. The White Sox also could go the trade route in improving their starting five, which is certain to run deeper than simply five.