Chicago Cubs: Five bold predictions for 2020 and beyond

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Look for Darvish and Hendricks to push each other

Speaking of Hendricks and Darvish holding down the Cubs rotation past 2020, here’s a daring thought: one of the two will win the Cy Young Award in the next couple seasons. While neither pitcher resembles the other in terms of repertoire or pure stuff, both guys are thinkers with nasty pitches who can stifle any lineup when they bring their “A” game. Both right-handers have already posted a top-three Cy Young season, and the Cubs will need them to be at their very best as they are now the top dogs in an aging rotation.

Hendricks, who has been dubbed “The Professor” for his thoughtful and unflappable approach to pitching, put up a season for the ages alongside Lester and Jake Arrieta in 2016, finishing the season with a 2.13 ERA that led all of MLB. While he hasn’t touched that same elite level since he has posted a 3.33 ERA since and carries a career ERA of just 3.14.

In fact, despite rarely touching 90 mph on the radar gun, Hendricks currently holds the fifth-best ERA amongst active pitchers in all of MLB. While he’s been consistently good throughout his career, look for Hendricks to look a lot like his ’16 self going forward after an offseason that saw Hendricks switch to a new workout regimen.

Darvish, meanwhile, has been an enigma in his two years with the Cubs but seems to be finding his voice and place in Chicago. 19th on the active career ERA leaders with a career 3.57 ERA (right behind teammate Jon Lester), Darvish saw his first year with the Cubs go down the tubes thanks to injury.

In his second year with the club, Darvish made a lot of naysayers and haters happy early on in 2019 with some mediocre starts but turned things around for a monumental second half which saw him post an absurd K/BB rate of 151/12 from June 10 until the end of the season. And, while he only posted a 4-4 W/L record in July, August, and September, Darvish did post a 2.95 ERA and 124/7 K/BB rate. If Darvish can continue doing that, the Cubs should expect him to be one of the best hurlers in the NL along with Hendricks for the next couple of years.