Mar 22, 2021 5 min read

Can Lucas Giolito end the White Sox's lengthy Cy Young drought?

Can Lucas Giolito end the White Sox's lengthy Cy Young drought?

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Monday's results
Jazz 120, Bulls 95
N'Western 62, UCF 51
*NCAA women's tournament first round
Sox 7, Giants 2
Angels 15, Cubs 7

Today's schedule
Panthers at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Sox at Cubs (3, Marquee)

Giolito's bid for the Cy

Jose Abreu ended one long drought last season, becoming the first White Sox player to win AL MVP since Frank Thomas in 1994.

Could Lucas Giolito do the same this year?

No Sox pitcher has won the AL Cy Young award since Jack McDowell in 1993 and only two other Sox have their name on the list— Lamarr Hoyt in 1983 and Early Wynn in 1959.

For a team that likes to talk about pitching, the Sox haven't exactly peppered their names among the top of voting totals the past 28 years.

  • Esteban Loaiza has the only second-place finish in that span, finishing a distant second to Roy Halladay in 2003.
  • Chris Sale had four straight top-five finishes from 2013-2016 but somehow never placed higher than third.
  • Only eight other Sox pitchers have earned Cy votes since 1993: Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Quintana, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Keith Foulke, Alex Fernandez and Roberto Hernandez.

Only two other AL teams have not won a Cy Young since 1993 — Texas (which has never won the award) and Baltimore.

Giolito finished sixth in 2019 and seventh in 2020, just behind current rotation mates Dallas Keuchel and Lance Lynn (then with the Rangers). Current closer Liam Hendriks (then with Oakland) finished ninth in 2020.

There's a lot of expectation that Giolito will be in contention for the Cy in 2021 and not just from fans on the South Side.

  • According to PointsBet, Giolito currently owns the third-best odds to win the award at +450. New York's Gerrit Cole is the favorite at +350 (hey there, East Coast bias) and Cleveland's Shane Bieber, the reigning winner who completely dominated last year's short season, is second at +400.

The computers, meanwhile, are making googly eyes at Giolito. Fangraphs' ZiPS projection peg Giolito as the most valuable pitcher in baseball this season at 5.8 WAR with a 3.00 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 180 IP. That WAR would probably not only win him the Cy but put him in the AL MVP conversation as well.

To get there, Giolito will likely have to match last year's K/9 ratio (12.1) or better it while lowering last year's BB/9 rate (3.5).

That seems doable as Giolito enters his age 26 season with not only a sizable extension in the offing but his personal pitching whisperer Ethan Katz on the same team for the first time in eight years.

Giolito has been an ace through five spring starts in Arizona. His latest start came on Monday as he struck out four with three walks and two hits over 4.2 scoreless innings against the Giants. His ERA over 16.2 spring innings sits at 1.56 with one more possible start to go until his Opening Day nod in Los Angeles.

Winning the first Sox Cy Young since McDowell won't be easy with Cole, Bieber and others in the AL capable of some nasty things (that includes some of his pals in the Sox rotation).

But by the season's end, the odds are better than not that Giolito will be among the names debated for an honor that's been a South Side rarity.

Trivia

Since 1993, the White Sox have had four pitchers who won the Cy Young with other teams before coming to the South Side. Name them.

Happy birthday Mark Buehrle!

The White Sox legend turns 42 today. To celebrate, David Brown looked at Buehrle's top 10 moments in a Sox uniform — including the time he was the subject of David Letterman's Top 10 list after pitching the perfect game.

Results

Final: Jazz 120, Bulls 95

  • The Bulls lost for the third time in four tries as Rudy Gobert had his way at the United Center. With fellow DPOY Joakim Noah looking on from a luxury suite, Gobert had 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 30 points.
  • Zach LaVine shot just 10-of-25 from the field and finished with 27. The Bulls fell to 19-23 while Utah won its NBA-best 31st game.
  • Next: The Bulls welcome the Cavs on Wednesday in the final game before Thursday's trade deadline.

Final: Angels 15, Cubs 7

  • Ian Happ led off the game with a homer, but it was the only lead the Cubs held all day. Three pitchers including prospect Keegan Thompson combined to give up 10 runs in the second inning to the Angels lineup.
  • The day's best highlight: Catcher Miguel Amaya, who ranks as the Cubs' third-best prospect behind Brailyn Marquez and Brennen Davis, hit his first spring training homer. Watch it here.
  • Next: The Cubs welcome the Sox to Sloan for their half of the home and home. Jake Arrieta gets the ball for the Cubs against fellow beard aficionado Dallas Keuchel.

Final: Sox 7, Giants 2

  • Giolito had a nice game as noted above, but Tim Anderson also put in work. TA homered in the first and doubled home Adam Eaton in the second for 2-for-4 day at the plate.
  • Eloy Jimenez also mashed a dong, hitting a pitch over the batter's eye for a 463-shot. Watch it here.
  • The day's biggest news: Reynaldo Lopez was reassigned to the team's alternate site, which effectively gives Carlos Rodon the fifth starter spot (not surprising) and removes Lopez out from the long-relief spot, at least to start the season (somewhat surprising).
  1. Northwestern women's hoops won its first NCAA tournament game since 1993 on Monday. Up next is a Wednesday date with second-seeded Louisville. Inside NU
  2. The never-ending story of Russ and the Bears. Windy City Gridiron
  3. Nine teams came in. Only one (Michigan) reached the Sweet 16. What in the world happened to Big Ten basketball? Yahoo Sports
  4. Where Kirby Dach could slot into the Hawks' lineup once he's cleared to play. NBC Sports Chicago
  5. Take a bow, Bears, Cubs and Notre Dame football fans: You all earned a spot among the top 25 most annoying fanbases in sports. YardBarker

    Trivia answer:  Doug Drabek, Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy, Dallas Keuchel

Finally: Hey! We know this guy! (He looks happy.)

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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