Cubs: Marcus Stroman endorses Kyle Hendricks on Twitter
Fans are praying that the MLB owners and MLBPA will come to an agreement on a new CBA as soon as possible so we can officially look forward to Opening Day. With the scheduled start of spring training more than likely being delayed, who knows when the 2022 season will potentially start. Still, Opening Day is still in the minds of many fans.
Right now, most people guess the Chicago Cubs likely Opening Day starting pitcher will be newcomer Marcus Stroman. He is currently listed as the number one starter on the ESPN and FanGraphs depth charts. It makes sense, he has the best stuff of all the current starting pitchers projected to be in the top three spots in the rotation. However, Stroman himself said on Twitter he believes the Opening Day starter job deserves to go to one of his teammates.
Cubs: Marcus Stroman looking forward to working with The Professor
Not only did Stroman endorse Kyle Hendricks to be the Opening Day starter, but he also talked about how he looks forward to pitching alongside him in the rotation. Hendricks started his first career Opening Day game in 2020 when he threw a complete-game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers in front of an empty Wrigley Field. He also started Opening Day last year but took the loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It is interesting to point out that Stroman and Hendricks both made their MLB debuts in 2014. Hendricks has made 206 career starts while Stroman has made 173. Keep in mind Stroman opted out in 2020, otherwise their MLB sample size is fairly similar. Both are known for getting contact-outs using various methods of changing speeds, location and movement on pitches. Though, Stroman does throw harder than Hendricks, with a fastball typically in the low/mid 90s.
Hendricks is definitely a bit “craftier” than Stroman in terms of getting outs without overpowering opposing hitters, but neither relies on recording double-digit strikeouts regularly like the typical modern-day ace. Stroman rocks a career 3.63 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 2.5 BB/9 and 7.5 K/9 while Hendricks sports a career 3.36 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.4 B/9.
If the lockout ends and no other significant additions are made to the rotation, it is going to be either Stroman or Hendricks starting for the Cubs Opening Day (if healthy of course). Wade Miley, Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Alec Mills are the primary candidates for the remaining three spots in the rotation. Miley is pretty much a lock at three or four with Alzolay most likely in one of those spots as well.
Stroman would seem like the smartest plan for Opening Day, as he is closer to “ace” stuff than Hedricks, but it is cool that he is endorsing “The Professor” for all that he has accomplished in his career. He acknowledged his consistency and his success in the postseason as well. Regardless of where he starts, the Cubs will really want to see Hendricks bounce back from the one bad year he had in 2021.