Dallas Keuchel

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Dallas Keuchel

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Dallas Keuchel reached the majors with the Houston Astros in 2012.

Amateur Career[edit]

Keuchel was 7-1 with a 1.98 ERA as a high school sophomore, when Bishop Kelley High School won the state title. As a senior, he had a 10-0, 1.57 record and the school again won the state title. He also was an All-5A East selection as a quarterback in football. Going on to college at the University of Arkansas, he was 6-3 with a save and a 5.88 ERA as a freshman. He went 2-4 with a 3.20 ERA for the Wareham Gatemen in the 2007 Cape Cod League, leading the league with 59 innings pitched. His sophomore campaign, he improved to 4-3, 4.58. In summer ball, he was 1-3 with a 2.63 ERA for Wareham and was 4th in the Cape Cod with 54 2/3 innings.

His junior year at Arkansas, Keuchel went 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA. He tied for third in the Southeastern Conference in wins, behind Louis Coleman and Anthony Ranaudo.

Minor League Career[edit]

Selected by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 2009 amateur draft, Keuchel was scouted by Jim Stevenson. He made his pro debut that summer with the Tri-City ValleyCats, going 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 outings. He only walked 9 in 56 2/3 IP. Had he qualified, he would have tied for 9th in the New York-Penn League in ERA. He split 2010 between the Lancaster JetHawks (5-8, 3.36) and Corpus Christi Hooks (2-6, 4.70). He led Astros farmhands in losses, tied Josh Banks for the most complete games (3) and was second in whiffs (133, 4 behind Jordan Lyles).

He was a Texas League All-Star in 2011, when he went 9-7 with a 3.17 in 20 games before a late-season promotion to the Oklahoma City RedHawks (1-1, 7.50). The other TL All-Star hurlers in '11 were Joe Wieland, Brad Brach, Shelby Miller, Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker. He was 4th in the TL in ERA behind Shoemaker, Jorge Reyes and Richards. He led Astros minor leaguers in victories one season after leading in losses.

He went 5-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 13 starts for Oklahoma City at the beginning of the 2012 campaign before being called up by the Astros in mid-June when Bud Norris went on the disabled list. He was the second 2009 Razorback pitcher to make it to the majors in 2012, following Drew Smyly.


He made his big league debut on June 17, 2012 starting against the Texas Rangers and giving up just one earned run (but walking four) in 5 innings. He had tossed shutout ball for five innings and was leading Colby Lewis, 1-0, before Nelson Cruz opened the 6th with a hit. Fernando Rodriguez relieved and blew the lead, letting the inherited runner score and taking the defeat. He earned his first major league win on June 23rd when he beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-1 at home, throwing a complete game. He ended his first season at 3-8, 5.27, making 16 starts. The Astros moved to the American League in 2013 and Keuchel moved between the bullpen and starting rotation, making 22 starts in 31 appearances for a record of 6-10, 5.15. He had 123 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings. He tied Jordan Lyles and Mike Pelfrey for 10th in the 2013 AL in earned runs allowed (88). The Astros' pitching was so poor that season that his innings pitched actually led the staff and he was only one win behind Lyles for the team lead; he and Erik Bedard were the only two pitchers to record over 100 strikeouts. These statistical quirks were partly the result of the Astros having traded their best pitcher, Bud Norris, halfway through the season.

Dallas took a big step forward at the start of the 2014 season, pitching like a true staff ace. On May 13th, he recorded his first career shutout in defeating the Texas Rangers, 8-0, to improve to 4-2 on the year. Showing that the Astros were still a struggling team, it was their first complete game of the year. He made highlight reels on May 25th with a beautiful - albeit unintentional - defensive play against the Seattle Mariners: in the 1st inning, Robinson Cano hit a comebacker through the mound that Keuchel kicked with his heel - directly into the glove of first baseman Marc Krauss for an easy out ! He had another outstanding start that day, throwing a complete game four-hitter for a 4-1 win, improving to 6-2 on the year. He had an excellent season overall, ending up with a record of 12-9 for a team that was improved but still finished well below .500, with an ERA of 2.93. His 5 complete games were the most in the American League and only less than major league leader Clayton Kershaw. He pitched exactly 200 innings and recorded 146 strikeouts.

He then started the 2015 season red hot, as he was named the AL Pitcher of the Month in April on the strength of 3-0 record, an 0.73 ERA and 22 strikeouts in a league-leading 37 innings. The Astros won all five of his starts and were in an unfamiliar position, on top of the AL West standings, at the end of the month. He was the first Astros pitcher to win the award since Wandy Rodriguez back in 2009. He had another great game on May 30th when he shut out the Chicago White Sox on four hits, striking out a career-high 11, to improve to 7-1 on the year. He repeated as AL Pitcher of the Month, having gone 4-1, 2.62 with 38 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings in May. On June 25th, he struck out 12, adding one to the career high set three weeks earlier, in pitching a six-hit shutout over the New York Yankees. He was named to the major league All-Star team for the first time on the strength of a record of 11-4, 2.23 over the first half, during which he led the AL in both wins and ERA. He received the honor of starting the game for the American League at Great American Ball Park, giving up an unearned run in tow innings. In his first start after the game, on July 19th, he once again increased his career-high for strikeouts in a game, this time logging 13 in 7 scoreless innings in a 10-0 win over the Texas Rangers. He was the AL's Pitcher of the Month for the third time in August, when he went 4-1, 1.94 with 41 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. On October 2nd, he became a twenty-game winner in defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks, 21-5, in the highest-scoring game in team history. The last pitcher to win 20 games for the Astros had been Roy Oswalt in 2005. His 20 wins were the most in the league, while his ERA of 2.48 was second in the league, just behind David Price's 2.45. He also set a record by going 15-0 at home, the most home wins without a loss in a season. He then started and won the Wild Card Game against the Yankees on October 6th, pitching 6 scoreless innings during which he struck out 7, walked 1 and allowed only 3 singles. he then started and won Game 3 of the Division Series, 4-2 over the Kansas City Royals, and was used in relief in Game 5 in a desperate attempt by manager A.J. Hinch to keep his team alive, but he was touched for three runs in one inning as Kansas City eventually won, 7-2. After the season, he was voted the winner of the 2015 American League Cy Young Award, finishing ahead of David Price.

On May 2, 2016, he lost a home start to the Minnesota Twins, 6-2, ending a streak of 17 straight victories at home. He could not repeat his success from the previous season, finishing the season at 9-12, 4.55 in 26 starts. He pitched 168 innings and struck out 144. In 2017, however, he had an excellent month of April, going 5-0 in 6 starts with an ERA of 1.21 and was named the AL Pitcher of the Month. He then spent 10 days on the disabled list in May because of a pinched nerve in his neck, but came back to win his next two starts to improve to 9-0 after 11 outings. However, on June 8th, he returned to the DL, his neck problem having flared up again. He was roughed up in his first three starts following his return from the disabled list on July 28th, allowing 14 runs in 12 innings. That included his worst outing of the year on August 8th against the last-place Chicago White Sox during which he allowed 8 runs in 4 innings in an 8-5 loss. he finished the year at 14-5, 2.90 in 23 starts, having pitched 145 2/3 innings. In the postseason, he won a game against the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series and one of two starts against the New York Yankees in the ALCS as the Astros reached the 2017 World Series. he started Game 1 and Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, being charged with a 3-1 loss in the opener, and ending up with a no-decision in the other game as he gave up 4 runs in 3 2/3 innings in what turned out to be a wild game, won by the Astros, 13-12, in 10 innings. The Astros went on to win the Series in 7 games. Back with Houston in 2018, he was fully healthy, logging 204 2/3 innings in 34 starts. He was a true workhorse, leading the American League in starts and batters faced, as well as hits allowed. His record was 12-11, 3.74. He made two starts in the postseason, one against the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series and one against the Red Sox in the ALCS. In both games, he pitched exactly 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and ended up both times with a no-decision.

Keuchel became a free agent following the 2018 season and expected to cash in his past success with a lucrative multi-year contract. However, teams found his demands too rich for their taste and he was unable to find anyone willing to bite. As the season rolled around, he refused to lower his demands, for example by accepting a one-year deal, and remained on the sidelines, unwilling to compromise. He was not the only one in this situation, as Craig Kimbrel was also still unsigned in spite of his past success. Both pitchers had to wait until after the 2019 amateur draft to find team, and for the removal of potential compensation to be paid in the form of draft picks now being removed. In Keuchel's case, it was reported on June 6th that he was on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves for $13 million. The deal did take place and he made his debut for the Braves on June 21, 2019, pitching 5 innings in a start against the Washington Nationals. He made 19 starts for the Braves, going 8-8, 3.75. He made two more starts in the postseason, in Games 1 and 4 of the Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and did not have a decision, while allowing 4 runs in 8 innings of work. He was a free agent again after the season and this time did not have to wait as long to find a team, signing with the Chicago White Sox on December 21st for three years and $55.5 million.

He quickly showed his leadership with the White Sox in spring training in 2020, when he invited the entire organization - some 150 persons including wives and girlfriends of players, but also clubhouse attendants, secretaries, batboys and so forth - to a dinner at a nearby steakhouse - and he picked up the entire tab, around $25,000. The purpose was to help the group bond, and to make it clear that he had joined the team in order to make it to the postseason, and that he wanted everyone else at the event to be on board and work toward that goal. The Sox also made an accommodation to team rules for him: while the team allows facial hair, it has to be trim and neat, not qualificatives that would describe Keuchel's usual wild mane of facial hair. He did take some scissors to trim his winter growth, but not enough to satisfy team rules, until owner Jerry Reinsdorf intervened and said that, as long as the team was winning, he would be allowed to keep a longer beard than would normally have been allowed. He went 6-2, 1.99 in 11 starts in that pandemic-shortened season. He finished fifth in the voting for the Cy Young Award. He then started Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics on September 30th, but he was hit hard, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits in 3 1/3 innings to be charged with a 5-3 loss. He was not as good in 2021, as he finished the year at 9-9, 5.28 in 32 games, with 189 hit allowed in 162 innings, and 95 strikeouts. As a result, he was not used as the White Sox were defeated in four games by the Houston Astros in the Division Series. He then continued to struggle early in 2022, going 2-5, 7.88 over his first 8 start, with as many walks as strikeouts - 20. On May 28th, the White Sox had him designated for assignment even though he was still owed $18 million. At leastm their decision to cut bait assured the Sox that they would a potention $20-million option for 2023 would not vest.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL All-Star (2015 & 2017)
  • 2015 AL Cy Young Award
  • 5-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2014-2016, 2018 & 2021)
  • AL Wins Leader (2015)
  • AL Innings Pitched Leader (2015)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (2014)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (2015)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2015)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (2015)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (2014, 2015 & 2018)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2015)
  • Won one World Series with the Houston Astros in 2017

AL Cy Young Award
2014 2015 2016
Corey Kluber Dallas Keuchel Rick Porcello


Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Berg: "Dallas Keuchel admits he 'sucked' last season. Here's why he'll rebound in 2017", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, February 15, 2017. [1]
  • Scott Boeck: "Free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel won't settle: 'It's about principle'", USA Today, May 7, 2019. [2]
  • Chris Cwik: "White Sox designate Dallas Keuchel and his $18 million salary for assignment", Yahoo! Sports, May 28, 2022. [3]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Keuchel excels with commanding presence: Dodgers know they have hands full with lefty, who thrives without overpowering stuff", mlb.com', October 24, 2017. [4]
  • Richard Justice: "Keuchel has quickly ascended to elite level: Bullpen session in spring 2014 was turning point for Astros ace", March 30, 2016. [5]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Shoulder an issue for Keuchel throughout '16: Astros lefty regrets not letting club know sooner; feels 'brand new' this year", mlb.com, February 16, 2017. [6]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Dallas Keuchel spends $25,000 on team dinner, preps for new start with White Sox mired in 11-year playoff drought", USA Today, March 3, 2020. [7]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Astros' Dallas Keuchel wins AL Cy Young award", USA Today Sports, November 18, 2015. [8]
  • Jesse Yomtov: "Free agent Dallas Keuchel wonders what it takes to get signed", USA Today, January 18, 2019. [9]

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