A year later, only one South Sider earned the distinction of being honored as one of the three best defenders at his position in the American League.
Dallas Keuchel was that one White Sock, no surprise considering his longstanding status as an elite defender. He's won four Gold Gloves in his career and could add a fifth, if the number-crunching that determines the winners these days puts him in front of fellow finalists José Berríos of the Toronto Blue Jays and Zack Greinke of the Houston Astros.
A Keuchel win would give the White Sox three straight years with a Gold Glove winner. Robert did it last year in center field, and Yolmer Sánchez was the AL's Gold Glove winner at second base in 2019. Keuchel would be the first White Sox pitcher to win a Gold Glove since Jake Peavy in 2012. Mark Buehrle, a frequent Keuchel comp, won three straight Gold Gloves in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Though his pitching numbers were nowhere near where he wanted them to be in 2021, Keuchel had another fine season defensively, with a .980 fielding percentage and just one error to his name, the first error he was charged with since 2017.
Whether he takes home another Gold Glove or not, Keuchel figures to be a hot topic of conversation among White Sox fans this winter. He followed up an excellent first season on the South Side with a disappointing one that saw him post a 5.28 ERA and get left off the team's roster for the AL Division Series.
Keuchel is under contract for at least one more season — there's a team option for the 2023 season — though he could be the key to freeing up room in the rotation if Rick Hahn's front office decides to add starting pitching this offseason. Though the starting staff was tremendous during the regular season, it was perhaps the biggest reason for the White Sox' quick exit from the playoffs, with plenty of fans crossing their fingers for upgrades in the coming months.
Finding a way to move on from Keuchel could free up the room to do just that in a rotation that already includes Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and presumably Michael Kopech. But the soon-to-be-34-year-old Keuchel also has a history of swinging back and forth between strong seasons and not-so-strong ones, meaning he could very well get back to being his best self in 2022.
Regardless of what the White Sox choose to do with Keuchel, they can at least guarantee his sensational defensive performance, as proven Thursday.