A look at the 2015 Chicago Cubs starting rotation options

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Jul 10, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

 4) Kyle Hendricks

  • 2014 statistics: 7-2, 2.46 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 13 GS, 80.1 IP
  • 2015 projected: 8-8, 4.14 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 24 GS, 134 IP

One of the biggest storylines last season for the Cubs was the arrival of several of the prospects fans had heard about for so long. More often than not, the attention centered around the likes of Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara and slugging infielder Javier Baez. However, in a system that has far more position depth than pitching, one rookie right-hander turned heads around the league, eventually finishing seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting – Kyle Hendricks.

Hendricks was absolutely dominant in his rookie campaign, going 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA and 1.083 WHIP across his 13 starts, including a near-perfect month of August that accounted for the lion’s share of his success. In six starts, Hendricks went 4-0, allowing just seven earned runs across 37 1/3 innings of work before coming back down to earth in the season’s final month.

That month of work earned him the National League Rookie of the Month honors for August and only furthered optimism of fans – despite losing fan favorite Jeff Samardzija earlier in the summer. Although he leveled out near the end of the year, Hendricks was no-doubt one of the top stories last season.

That leveling out, however, may play a role in the projections moving forward that indicate the right-hander is due for a much more realistic season with an earned run average in the low-4.00 range and a .500 record in another 11 starts as compared to a year ago. Avoiding the sophomore slump and continuing to locate his pitches in a Greg Maddux-like manner will either make or break Hendricks moving forward.