Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks – rather quietly – had another great season in 2020.
When we look back at the starting pitching for the Chicago Cubs in 2020, there were several storylines that got a lot of attention. Yu Darvish was good enough to be part of the NL Cy Young Award discussion. Alec Mills threw a no-hitter. And Jon Lester, possibly the most important free agent signee in team history, was up and down in what may have been his final run with the team.
However, it seems that we haven’t been giving much attention to Kyle Hendricks, who’s been doing it for the Cubs for a long time but still doesn’t seem to get his due. And though it’s tough to gauge given this year’s unusual circumstances, when we look at the numbers from 2020, he actually had one of his best seasons.
It started on Opening Day, when Hendricks got the nod against the Milwaukee Brewers and went the distance, giving up no runs on three hits while striking out nine. For whatever reason, he has struggled at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, where he had by far his two worst outings of the season.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
- Cubs: P.J. Higgins deserves to be in the lineup on a daily basis
However, in 12 starts, he posted a solid 2.88 ERA, the third time in his career (and second over a “full” season) he’s finished under 3.00 and the seventh consecutive year he’s finished under 4.00 to start his career. Nine of his 12 starts were quality starts, while he went at least six innings in ten of them.
It keeps getting better. The right-hander posted a WHIP of 0.996 while lowering his ERA during every start from the month of September. His 0.9 walks per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.00 both were good enough to lead the league.
The NL Central division-champion Cubs, who made a quick playoff exit, had a lot of issues this year, but Hendricks wasn’t one of them. In addition, with all the concerns they have coming into this offseason, Hendricks isn’t a player they have to worry about either.
Smartly, the team was able to lock him up long-term well before the rest of the “core”, and they still have him signed at a relatively affordable price for another four years.
So, not only did Hendricks have a great season, but we should also expect to see him continuing to put up solid numbers for the Cubs for at least the next few years. In the meantime, let’s make sure we give him credit for what was another solid year.