Chicago Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks goes about his business like every day is the same. And his results? They speak for themselves.
Chicago Cubs‘ fans have grown accustomed to Kyle Hendricks by now. The way he methodically picks apart a lineup with his low velocity and weak contact is a thing of beauty. What is more impeccable is his control. Hendricks rarely walks guys and is consistently able to put the baseball right where he wants. He has shown that in spring training.
So far this Spring, Hendricks has 21 strikeouts, with zero walks. Yes, ZERO. So far Hendricks has made four starts in the spring and pitched only 15 innings, which makes the numbers more impressive. Having been one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball for years now, Hendricks will be the third starter for the Cubs, behind Jon Lester and Yu Darvish.
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An impressive career so far
In his major league career, Hendricks has posted 11.8 WAR, with a 2.94 ERA and a 3.43 FIP. The numbers support his success. Hendricks was a Cy Young finalist in 2016, losing to Max Scherzer in the end.
In his career, Hendricks has averaged just 2.1 BB/9, compared to 7.73 K/9. On top of that, he has a comically low .274 BABIP. His groundball rate is 49.6%, which plays into the low BABIP.
Hendricks is unconventional, topping out at 89 mph with that sinker, and can touch 90 every once in a blue moon. Because he doesn’t throw hard and finesses hitters, he isn’t perceived as highly around the league.
But the Cubs’ front office valued him, promptly trading Ryan Dempster to the Rangers for Hendricks back in 2012. The Cubs won that deal, wouldn’t you say?
Hendricks in only 28, and still has control for three more years, including this year. In his first year of arbitration, he and the Cubs agreed on a contract for $4.1 million. There is a common theme here, which is a cheap, underrated pitcher giving ace-like results.
Hendricks may be due for a long contract extension if he keeps his trajectory going this season. And based on projections, there is no reason to believe that his performance will not keep happening not only this year but over the rest of his career.