After a successful rookie season, Kyle Hendricks is looking to solidify his spot in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation for the long haul.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs could again look to Japan to address a major offseason need
- Cubs need to walk the walk this winter after talking the talk
- Cubs, 2 superstar free agents-to-be have ‘mutual interest’
- Where’s the love for Cubs prospect Matt Mervis?
- Alec Mills shocked Cubs fans, baseball world with 2020 no-hitter
The 25-year-old made his debut in July and was a bright spot in 2014 for the Cubs. Hendricks had a 2.46 ERA in 13 starts and finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He is a crafty pitcher from the Greg Maddux mold. He won’t overpower hitters, but he will rely on location to get outs. His 1.083 WHIP was well under the league average and would put him among the leaders in the category if he had pitched enough innings to qualify.
Hendricks has been praised for his work ethic and preparation methods by many, including Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
"“He’s got a chance to stick around for a while,” Epstein said last August. “He’s as polished and prepared as you’ll see with any rookie. We speculated that he might even take it to another level when he got to the big leagues because he uses all the tools available to him as well as anybody.”"
The question new Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cubs fans want to know is can Hendricks continue to put up the All-Star caliber numbers he had in a short time last season? Hendricks is a lock for a spot in the rotation next season because of his performance last year, but it was a small sample size.
It’s unrealistic to have expectations that Hendricks will match lasts season’s 2.46 ERA, but the Cubs will no doubt want to see some of the same things they saw last year. During the month of August, for example, the rookie went 4-0 in six starts en route to the National League Player of the Month honors. As a back-of-the-rotation type of pitcher, he is as good as they get. He has the upside to work his way into the middle of the rotation, which is what Maddon will hope for this season.
If Hendricks can keep his walks low and locate the ball where he wants, the Cubs could have a mainstay in their rotation for years to come.