Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks has been a mixed bag in 2015


Right-hander Kyle Hendricks has seen his fair share of ups-and-downs in his second big league season at the back end of the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation.

The former eighth-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers, to many, has been a disappointment this year. He entered the year coming off a sterling 2.46 ERA in 13 starts in his rookie campaign, leading many to have high hopes in 2015.

His precision and ability to hit his spots drew (far-fetched) comparisons to former Chicago Cubs great Greg Maddux and he looked like a lock to solidify the fourth spot in the rotation moving forward.

In a career-high 26 starts this season, however, Hendricks’ earned run average has climbed nearly two full runs to 4.15 and he has bounced back-and-forth month-to-month from pitching well to pitching not so well.

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After struggling in March and April to an ERA north of 5.00 in 20 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander seemed to right the ship in May, before struggling again in June. This trend has emanated throughout the entire 2015 season, most recently in the worst month of his big league career in August.

In half-a-dozen outings, Hendricks struggled badly, posting a 5.40 earned run average to go along with a very disappointing 2.21 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While he struck out almost nine batters per nine, he also saw his WHIP rise to a single-month high of 1.516.

As noted above, Hendricks can be devastating when he dissects the strike zone to the best of his abilities. With an even 6-6 record on the year, you can physically look at the stark contrast between the work he puts in during wins and in losses.

Location of pitches is even more imperative for Hendricks than it is for other starters.

When he locates well, he wins. It’s really that simple.

Hendricks carries a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.37 in 227 2/3 innings of work. This season, however, offers some stark contrasts. In starts he didn’t factor into the decision, he was fairly close to that career mark, coming in at 3.26.

However, in losses, that number shrinks to 2.67 – but skyrockets to a staggering 5.67 mark in his six wins. Furthermore, it’s common sense to say, but he’s also cut his WHIP in half in wins as compared to losses, something that’s a trend in baseball.

Regardless, one thing is clear: Hendricks hasn’t showcased the downright dominance we saw last August. With that in mind though, he hasn’t been as bad as many make him out to be and if he can put a rough month behind him, he could become a major key for this team as it pushes toward October.

Next: Cubs have plenty of doubters with a month to go