Chicago Cubs: Projecting which starters will pitch the best in 2020
Chicago Cubs: Hendricks is as steady as they come and is poised for another great season
First and foremost, The Professor needs to stay healthy. But don’t worry, Kyle Hendricks, he has a new training program for that.
Still, though, with a fastball that averages between 86 and 87 mph (and is about two mph slower than it was when he earned the ERA title in 2016), there isn’t much room for error.
But over and over again, Hendricks has demonstrated he can operate effectively despite his razor-thin margin of error.
Hendricks is the epitome of consistency: his ERA has been sub-4.00 every year of his career, he’s pitched in at least 30 games in all but one of his full MLB seasons, he’s going to produce a lot of groundballs, and he isn’t going to surrender much hard contact.
With just an inning of extra work in the playoffs over the last two years, maybe the velocity on his fastball will start to creep back towards the 88-89 mph number that he sat at during the best season of his career in 2016.
The consistency he’s shown throughout his career, coupled with the fact he doesn’t walk guys, makes him less susceptible to have a real disaster season like some of the other guys on the list. (Such as Darvish and Chatwood who have lost control on their pitches in the past and Jon Lester whose age is a giant wildcard right now).
Two is the absolute lowest you can put Hendricks on this list, and there’s a perfect argument to be made that he could be the No. 1 starter next season as well.