Despite All-Star snub, Hendricks’ consistency will be key for Cubs in second half
“He’s our All-Star,” David Ross said about Kyle Hendricks following a 10-5 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“He’s been holding it down for us. When you talk about All-Stars sometimes, guys with the big numbers or the velocities – the names – get more of the nods. He’s definitely, for me, deserving of that.”
Ross is right. Hendricks didn’t get ‘The Professor’ moniker by accident. The Dartmouth graduate fights through the order by having a low walk percentage and good command over the strike zone.
Hendricks and Craig Kimbrel were the two most consistent pitchers on the Cubs roster through the all-star break. Since debuting with the Cubs in 2014, ‘The Professor’ has been one of the best starters in the majors.
Since 2014, Hendricks is 15th in MLB in ERA (3.18) and 20th in WHIP (1.12). His ERA is lower than that of Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. All three have made at least one All-Star Game.
In 2016, Hendricks was the ERA champion in the NL. In every year since, the ERA champion from both the AL and NL has made the All-Star team (aside from 2020 when there was no All-Star Game due to the pandemic).
When it comes to Hendricks’ sustained excellence and consistency rivals any of the Cubs other All-Stars.
Hendricks rebounded from a slow start in March/April to go 9-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his last 11 starts. On the season, Hendricks has the lowest hard-hit percentage since his stellar 2016 season. Not surprisingly, Hendricks is the only Cubs pitcher to eclipse 100 innings pitched through the first half of the season. His ability to go deeper than the other starters has been a plus to a team that can use more innings from its rotation.
Though he hasn’t been selected to an All-Star team up to this point in his career, Hendricks doesn’t let that affect him.
“It’s never something that bothers me,” Hedricks said last Friday after his major league-tying 11th win.
Hendricks will be vital as the Cubs kick off the second half of their season Friday against the Diamondbacks. Hendricks can set the tone for the team with his start by sticking to the process from the past nine games and giving the team a chance to win – controlling what he can control. It’s an ethos Ross has talked about in the past..
“I think that goes into what we talk about a lot – controlling what we can and getting into the daily mentality of winning today’s at-bat, winning today’s game, winning today’s pitch each and every pitch from a pitching standpoint,” Ross said.
At 44-46 the Cubs will try to climb back in the playoff race during the second half of the season. To achieve that the club will rely on Hendricks to play a huge role in taking care of business in his starts. That responsibility is nothing that ‘The Professor’ can’t handle.