Chicago Cubs: What kind of season will Kyle Hendricks have in 2016?

Oct 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning in game two of the NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning in game two of the NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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With a new wave of talent cruising through the minor league circuit in order to be called up by the Chicago Cubs, those who made their big league debut’s over the past two seasons are emerging as team leaders.

Before Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant started taking pitcher’s deep, guys like Tsuyoshi Wada, Kyle Hendricks, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and Javier Baez put the rest of the league on notice by giving them a taste of what is expected.

Still, this franchise is running on a full tank when it comes to All-Star potential prospects.

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But before we jump into that long list of names, let’s focus on a young right-handed pitcher who showed signs of a solid No. 3 during the 2014 campaign. You guessed it, Hendricks.

Chicago acquired him in a trade that brought over not only himself but Christian Villanueva as well in exchange for beloved Cub, Ryan Dempster.

The now 26-year-old made his Chicago Cubs debut on July 10 during a road trip against their N.L. Central rival, the Reds. Cincinnati handed him a no-decision by tagging him for four earned runs on five hits across six innings of work.

That man was not only great on the mound, but his Harry Caray impression is on another level.

Getting back on track, Hendricks wrapped up his debut season with a 2.46 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 47/15 K/BB ratio and a 7-2 record across 80 1/3 innings of work and 13 starts behind Jake Arrieta and company.

His strong performance led to high expectations from not only the club but the fans as well leading into the new campaign. I’m not going to say that he pitched terribly throughout the year, just seemed like he was uncomfortable on the mound from time-to-time.

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Hendricks did have a perfect run going into and after the All-Star break in which he worked 20 1/3 scoreless innings in outings against the New York Mets, Miami Marlins, and Chicago White Sox.

He picked up two wins against the Mets and Marlins only to have his brief winning streak come to an end at the hands of the South Siders in a 1-0 decision. A sacrifice fly lead to the loss, putting the Cubs at 46-39 on the year.

After giving up a combined 30 earned runs in both August and most of September, Hendricks began to settle in with only two starts left during the regular season.

Standing in his way before the Cubs moved on to Pittsburgh were the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. Kansas City managed to only record two hits off him in a make-up game that just so happened to be the final regular season game held at Wrigley Field.

Outfielder Chris Denorfia sent fans home happy after blasting a walk-off homer over the soon-to-be World Series Champions. Hendricks continued to dominate in the mound by hurling another six innings, holding the Brew Crew to only one hit with eight strikeouts.

Then it all went downhill when he got his first taste of the postseason.

Skipper Joe Maddon turned to him for Game 2 of the National League Division Series in St. Louis, following Jon Lester’s strong performance the day before.

The N.L. Central winning Redbirds plated three runs against him — all coming via the long ball, chasing him out of the game after just 4 2/3 frames only to last another four innings in his next appearance against the Mets.

Now that the Cubs are preparing for another postseason run, Hendricks is going to have to rebound after a shaky 2015 in order to keep himself in the starting rotation that now features John Lackey.

With Arrieta carrying the Ace and Jon Lester following right behind him, the Cubs could end up trading for another pitcher over the next couple of months or before the trade deadline to help anchor the starting five.

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