With each passing start, the Chicago Cubs Kyle Hendricks is making his case for the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Now, personally I don’t put much stock into those that win it, as it’s not always a true representation of who that player will be. In 2008, the Geovany Soto won the award while a member of the Cubs. Chris Coghlan won it the following season as a member of the Marlins. Coghlan has had a bounceback season, while Soto has somewhat vanished, but injuries haven’t helped his cause.
The point being it’s fun to talk about, especially if a member of your favorite team is in the conversation. In most circles Hendricks isn’t mentioned, but I feel like we need to give him at least “dark horse” status.
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Pitchers winning the award aren’t uncommon, but the frequency is less. That’s partly due to many times the pitcher doesn’t start the season in the Majors, getting a later call-up; such as Kyle Hendricks. Depending how manager Rick Renteria handles the pitching staff down the stretch, he could see six to eight more starts. That in itself will handicap his chances.
Often the voters like to see a pitcher face opponents a second time, to get a better gauge on him. Advantage generally lies for the pitcher the first time. Once a team has seen him, and there’s more film on the pitcher, that can change.
As of now, Hendricks has not faced an opponent more than once. His numbers, however, are very good so far:
Season Totals W-L IP H R ER BB K HR ERA
Kyle Hendricks 5-1 48.2 36 10 9 11 29 3 1.66
He allowed four runs in his first start, and hasn’t done anything similar since. He’s gone seven or more innings five times. He’s never allowed more than seven hits, and that happened only once, in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
A recent article by Matt Snyder over at CBS.com really only points out one pitcher as having a “chance”, and that’s Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets. Snyder does give a little tip to Hendricks, but cites his small workload as what keeps him out of consideration.
For Hendricks to have a legitimate chance, he would have to not miss any scheduled starts, and continue the fine work he has been doing for the duration. But a 13-1 record, with a sub 2.50 ERA would be hard for the voters to ignore, especially given what type of support the offense has given its starters.
It’s all speculation at this point, but with all the attention Javier Baez has garnered since his arrival, it’s time for Hendricks to get his due as well.