When asked who the best pitcher on the Chicago Cubs is, many people respond with, “Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester”; the name “Kyle Hendricks” is never brought up. To be honest, many baseball fans don’t even know who Kyle Hendricks is. Well, he is known as “The Professor” by Cub fans because of his Alma Mater, Dartmouth, as well as his intelligence on the mound when it comes to locating pitches. Hendricks has dominated this year at Wrigley, posting a 1.32 ERA, which is the lowest on the team.
The reason for Hendricks’ success has been his command of all four of his pitches. His average fastball is only 88 mph, which is nothing special, however, the ability to locate his pitches so well has caused him to be quite successful, causing 55% of the batters he faces to hit the ball on the ground. I was recently at a game where he threw over 110 pitches and his strike to ball ratio was 2:1. His great command has also only resulted in 43 walks this season, which is the lowest out of the five starters on the team.
I am a big numbers guy when it comes to sports, so judging by the numbers I would say that Hendricks has a good shot at the Cy Young award this year. His biggest competitor would be Madison Bumgarner, who is 14-9 with a 2.66 ERA. Hendricks is 15-8 with a 2.06 ERA (leading the MLB). The biggest differences between the two are strikeouts and innings pitched; Bumgarner wins both of those categories. Hendricks has had a more exciting year, moving from the least talked about Cub to arguably the most, but I understand the argument that people can make in favor of Bumgarner. All I’m saying is, don’t sleep on the 26 year-old from Chi-Town.