Cubs: We can expect another great season from Kyle Hendricks

(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The 2021 season will feature a new cast of characters in the Cubs starting rotation. Hendricks may be the only returning starter in the projected rotation following the trade of Yu Darvish, and the decisions to let Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood sign elsewhere. If he earns a spot, Alec Mills will be the other returning starter.

Based on how they’ve performed thus far in spring training, I’d pencil in Jake Arrieta and Zach Davies in some order as the team’s No.2 and No.3 starters. The fourth and fifth spots will likely be occupied by Shelby Miller and Trevor Williams. Both pitchers were invited to camp on minor-league deals. If the Cubs use a six-man rotation, there’s a good chance Mills or Adbert Alzolay will be used to round out the group.

Cubs Projected Rotation (2021 Spring Training Statistics):

  • Hendricks (3 games): 8.1 IP 6 ER 12 H 2 BB 11 SO
  • Arrieta (3 games): 9.1 IP 3 ER 9 H 4 BB 7 SO
  • Davies (3 games): 9 IP 0 ER 4 H 5 BB 2 SO
  • Miller (5 games): 8 IP 1 ER 7 H 3 BB 10 SO
  • Williams (4 games): 13.2 IP 2 ER 12 H 1 BB 11 SO
  • Mills (4 games): 11.2 IP 7 ER 15 H 6 BB 4 SO
  • Alzolay (3 games): 4 IP 7 ER 7 H 3 BB 3 SO

With the exception of Mills and Alzolay, this is a group with seasoned experience as MLB starters. It would be asking a lot to lead the league in ERA and strikeouts, but this rotation could eat a lot of innings and keep the team in games.

During the past six seasons of contention, Cubs pitching has proven to be a strength with a streaky offense. This will need to change if the team wants to have any chance of competing for a World Series in 2021.

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There might be some questions regarding how the rest of the rotation performs in the regular season, but we can expect more of the same excellence from Kyle Hendricks in 2021.