Chicago Cubs: Early predictions for the starting rotation

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: This is the guy you trust every time he takes the ball

Every time Kyle Hendricks gets off to a slow start, some people wonder if he still has it in him. Then by the end of the year he proves he is one of the most underrated pitchers in the National League.

Last season he made 30 starts and pitched to a 3.46 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 4.1 fWAR. That 1.6 BB/9 was a career-low and the first time he walked less than 40 batters in a season which he made at least 24 starts.

He was accomplishing this all with his groundball rate slightly lower (41.3 percent) than his overall career rate of 47.5 percent. Also worth noting his FIP was the lowest he has put up since his 3.20 in 2016.

At the age of 30 he has plenty left in the tank and little doubt he can continue it. While his command has been superb throughout his career, expect the walks to go up a wee bit but still at a very good level. Most other numbers should hover around his typical stats if he pitches like he normally does.

2020 prediction: 3.43 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 159 K, 45 BB, 32 starts, 191 innings