Ranking 4 surprisingly valuable Cubs from the first half

Several unexpected players have had strong first halves for Chicago

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees
Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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4 surprisingly valuable Cubs at the All-Star Break: #1 - Kyle Hendricks

It looked like Kyle Hendricks had run out of gas in the tank the last two seasons. A season-ending shoulder surgery in 2022 may have spelled the end of his Cubs career. Instead, the 2016 MLB ERA leader has rebounded and solidified the rotation since joining the team early this summer.

The soft-tossing right-hander has made 9 starts this year, with a 3.04 ERA and 3.73 FIP. He's kept the ball in the yard, a keystone to his success early in his career, and boasts a 1.031 WHIP on the season. Given the immense struggles of Jameson Taillon (and, more recently, Drew Smyly), Hendricks' bounceback has been a life-saver for Chicago.


At 1.1 fWAR, Hendricks has quickly made his presence felt, trailing only Stroman, Steele and Alzolay in that metric. His calm demeanor and proven pedigree will be critical if the Cubs are going to come out of the gates hot - and if they wind up playing meaningful games down the stretch, he may have one last chance to add another chapter to his postseason resume in 2023.