Maybe Hendricks is Maddux after all? Brewers 0, Cubs 3

Maybe Hendricks is Maddux after all? Brewers 0, Cubs 3

Kyle Hendricks might be Greg Maddux after all and everyone is counting on me. This just goes to show you can't predict baseball.


Source: FanGraphs
A Note About the WPA Chart
The Fangraphs chart has an explanation of meaning at the top, but wanted to share why I've decided to include it in the recaps. The information provided in a graph form the impact of each outcome on the final game results. The link at the bottom takes you to all the information you would find in box score and more. It might take some getting used to finding the information you want, but it will provide you everything you want to know.

Hendricks Proving Doubters Wrong

I have doubted Kyle Hendricks ability to handle advanced hitters with his, at best, average stuff. I keep waiting for Hendricks to be overmatched by major league hitters, but Hendricks keeps on improving in terms of results. The quick pace and low pitch counts was easy on the eyes. He ran into trouble in the eighth inning, but the bases loaded double play induced by Pedro Strop meant a scoreless outing. I am not sure if Hendricks is more Maddux than Frank Castillo at this point, but it is fun to watch either way.

Javier Baez Watch

Javier Baez did not homer, but did made contact in each of his four at bats. The first at bat resulted in a deep drive to center field that was caught with a complete necessary jump by Carlos Gomez. Baez also had a sharp ground ball directly up the middle that resulted in an out due to wise position of Scooter "yes I choose to be called Scooter" Gennett. Javier Baez has been better than expected so far at second base. I wouldn't mind seeing him giving the suddenly gimpy Starlin Castro a day off or two at shortstop. The wait for a Wrigley Field home run is still coming, but don't worry you won't be able to miss it.

Random Reference
Kyle Hendricks managed to generate five whiffs on his changeup. Carlos Gomez swung and missed on a high changeup in the hit by pitch plate appearance. The location appeared to be a spot that should have been crushed, but the swing made Gomez look silly. The closest thing to a wipeout pitch for Hendricks is his Bugs Bunny changeup.

Three Stars of the Game
Third Star- Pedro Strop (0.2 IP, 0 R):
Pedro Strop made three pitches in the game, but the two outs he recorded were in the highest leverage situation of the game. The double play meant the Brewers suffered an incredibly Cubs-like inning by failing to score with bases loaded and one out. The double play also kept the shutout alive.

Second Star- Arismendy Alcantara (2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB):
Alcantara managed to provide the most offensive value for the Cubs. His legs created a run in the third inning by beating out a double play ball. He stole second and was driven in by Ruggiano. Later Alcantara drove in Castro with a single. The only blemish was a close caught stealing in the fourth inning.

First Star- Kyle Hendricks (7.1 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K):babipfinal
Hendricks was on pace for a Maddux through the first seven innings, but the BABIP dragon struck in the eighth inning with three singles to load the bases. Pedro Strop managed to keep Hendricks outing scoreless to lower his ERA to 1.73 on the year.

Filed under: Cubs


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    I hope the Cubs sign Lester this offseason. I see him as a solid #2 behind Hendricks.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Can they pitch Hendricks on 3 days rest next season? Don't really need a no. 2 then.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Hendricks and Lester and don't worry about the rester.

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    In reply to springs:

    What about Jackson,
    Give the man some slack, son

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    i really like these.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Comment of the week :)

  • LOL! Kyle "Mad Dog" Hendricks, does have a nice ring to it.

  • I have to say that I've thought about Frank Castillo, too. I'm a skeptic, but it's because I remember impressive early runs by the lines of Bob Scanlon and Jeff Pico. Castillo with his change up is probably the best comparison stuff-wise, though. At the same time, I think back to a couple of lines from the excellent, yet Oscarless, film "Clue."

    "Three more murders."
    "Six all together. This is getting serious."

    Six starts in, and Hendricks seems to be getting better each time out. I keep expecting the scouting report to catch up with him, but it sure is a fun ride as long as it lasts.

    Also agree with giving Strop a star. Second straight game he's gotten out of an inning with a double play, but in an absolutely crucial situation tonight.

    Also love the BABIP Dragon. How wonderfully and completely random!

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    In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    I'm not really a believer either, yet. As we said last start, he's going to need to get hitters to miss his breaking stuff, since right now it's below average. In particular, I expect his splits against right handers to regress a bit, since he doesn't have that low away changeup to put them away. He's heavily reliant on the sinker and ground ball outs, but if he leaves to many of those up in the zone, major league hitters might start to pound it. He leaves a disturbing amount of both his fastballs and changeups right over the middle of the plate to right handers, and he's gotten quite a bit of batted ball and sequencing luck with that.

    Then again, if he can keep getting whiffs along with grounders, that's a hell of a convention-defying right hander

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    "He leaves a disturbing amount of both his fastballs and changeups right over the middle of the plate to right handers,"

    I'm not sure I agree with this statement, at least in regards to this game. When they were showing his pitches in the K-zone they were all inside and outside corners, not over the plate. Hendricks even mentioned in his press conference that he only threw 2-3 balls over the middle of the plate the entire game.

    While he doesn't throw hard his ball has good movement. He was killing the Brewers with the 2 seamer that started on the inside corner but ended up in on their hands. They either hit foul balls or broken bat contact. You aren't going to get good contact on that pitch unless you are looking for it. The beauty of this pitch is it keeps hitters from diving over the plate as he throws the low and away stuff.

    He mixes speeds. His fastball is 90-91 tops, but his curveball is around 70. This makes his fastball look even faster. He changes eye level and keeps the hitters off balance. He made Braun look ridiculous. He blew a 90 mph fastball right by him up in the zone. He had the Brewer hitters way out in front of the change, even when he threw the change up in the zone.

    It's was masterful. Now, will he maintain these numbers? No, but I'm very optimistic with him being a solid pitcher. Probably a 4/5 but maybe a 3. I can't wait for him to have a winter to work with Bosio. RIght now his changeup is a plus pitch and his sinker has very good movement. If he could get either the slider or curve to be a little better, or more consistent, he could be a solid number 3 starter. Don't underestimate the value of control and having good movement on your pitches.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Except, he doesn't do that. To cover your first point, he throws two different changeups. To lefties he throws one that breaks down and away. To righties he throws one that strictly breaks down and slightly away. It does not dive away like to the lefties, but it does not move in towards them which is what makes it so good vs RHH.

    To the claim of leaving too many up, only 15% of his fast pitches or changeups are in the middle of the zone or in the upper third. The rest are in, out, or down.

    Kyle Lohse has similar 'stuff' but leaves 18% of his pitches in those same zones, but he has had quite a bit of success despite that.

    Hendricks is good. He's good because he locates well. He is good because his change up(s) are awesome.

    He's good because he is Kyle Lohse with 10% more grounders.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Not saying he's the 2nd coming of Greg Maddux, but did you watch the game? He struck out Braun on some breaking pitches down. He set him up with a bottom of the zone, outside corner called strike, then got him on the breaking ball away in the dirt. He did strike out 5 in his 7.1 innings. He doesn't have to be Nolan Ryan. He's just gotta be Kyle Hendricks. The pitcher, not the thrower. There are some good pitchers out there who struck out 5.6 per 9 innings for their career & were pretty successful.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The most impressive pitch IMO, was when he threw a 91mph FB up out of the zone, got Braun to chase (he was late) for the swinging K. Everyone knows that Braun can catch up to that pitch, if he's looking for it. But after a steady diet of weak, low stuff, that FB plays up. If he can school a very good hitter like Braun, then he has a lot of potential.

    But for those that want to make the Maddux comparisons, keep in mind; this is his 6th MLB start and the first against this team. Let's wait til he has a couple hundred innings pitched and the Brewers have seen him a few times and the scouting book on him is out. If he's still at a 2'ish ERA, then okay I'll admit I was wrong.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    i think he also struck out braun on an elivated 91mph fastball after working him in.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Consider also that it's not only 6 starts. Hendricks already pitched more than 100 innings in the minors before his call-up. So when many other pitchers are starting to feel the wear of a long season, he seems to be staying strong.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Castillo isn't a great comparison. Frank had a WHIP of 1.257 in AA (his 2nd season in AA). He had good control but not Hendricks good control. Hendricks WHIP in AA was 1.075 and it was 1.179 in AAA. So, Hendricks WHIP was better than what Castillo's was in AA. Castillo had too small a sample size in AAA (25 innings).

    The other thing was Frank was showing a bit of the long ball bugaboo in AA. His HR rate per 9 innings was 0.9 his first time in AA, where Hendricks was a paltry 0.2 in AA and 0.4 this year in AAA.

    What killed Castillo was he gave up too many gopher balls. Between '93-'98, Castillo's HR/9 was 1.2 or higher every year but one.

    Also, think Hendricks ground ball rate will end up being much higher than Castillo's.

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    In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    I thought Clue won the Oscar for "Don't want to admit how many times I watched this just to get a laugh"? Maybe not. Oh, that's right it lost out to "Three Amigos."

    I do agree that Hendricks "stuff" is not "plus"

  • Hendricks: Once again, not a bad night for a pitcher who "misses too few bats," "lacks two plus pitches," has "too little of a margin of error" to consistently get major leaguers out, and "projects" as no better than a No. 4 or 5 starter. Even more amazing: the experts who considered an injured relief pitcher who hadn't thrown a pitch in two years (Arodys Vizcaino) a better prospect with a higher ceiling this spring than Hendricks. Perhaps max throwers are overvalued by the market.

  • fyi - Blockbuster trade alert - Phillies allegedly trade Cole Hammels to BoSox for SS Xander Bogaerts, CF Jackie Bradley Jr and Catching prospect Christian Vazquez

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    FYI-Once Cole Hammels was pulled back from waivers he isn't able to be traded again this year. If the Phillies place him on waivers for a second time this year they become irrevocable.

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    In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Did someone say three-way trade? Bogaerts to the Cubs?? WOWW

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    8 starting SS's on the Cubs,awesome. I guess it's too much to expect another one having the capabilities to pitch,making it nine. Hello Guinness Book ? That would make for a "Stout" lineup.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Somebody say "Stout"...? : )

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Trade can't happen until the offseason and the article just suggests that the Red Sox and Phillies are interested in a deal not that it has happened. But thanks for the article. It was a very interesting read.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    yeah, my intial post forgot the word "rumor" in it.. lol - got a bit excited I guess.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    If you are in the spend money over trade prospects camp, this rumor is nothing but good news. Let Boston, who would be an obvious suitor for Lester, trade away young talent to fill the hole Lester left and remove one more challenger from the market for the Cubs rumored #1 free agent target.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Rumor is the Cubs refused the Hammels for Hendricks straight up, demanded their top 2 prospects as well.

  • In reply to springs:

    The Phillies farm (not familiar with them) is so barren that their top 2 are probably would not even in the Cubs top 20. I feel bad for Ryno as that organization is such a mess. But at least it is not us.

  • In reply to Cubs Future:

    I'm certain that was springs sarcastic humor coming through. The Cubs FO would JUMP at a Hammels for Hendricks deal.

    But yes, their system is pretty barren right now. In fact, they're still reeling over the loss of Lendy Castillo who looks like Carlos Marmol part duex and still stuck in TEN @ age 25.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes I know that was a joke. It was quite obvious.

  • That Bugs Bunny pitch is spot on man....Hendricks had it going. I hope Baez can adjust quickly, but I will be more excited about his next year than anything he does this year!

    Well done Gunther...I really enjoyed this article!! The recaps are much more exciting than this time last year..

  • Nice job. Love the dragon and how fast Hendricks works.

  • I love the Bugs Bunny reference. I used to watch those cartoons on VHS all the time growing up (my favorites being Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner). Bugs was always great because he wasn't the fastest or the strongest of the characters, but he was definitely the craftiest. I'm actually kind of hoping we can get a Bugs Bunny related nickname stuck to Hendricks... "Bugs" or "The Wascally Wabbit" would be pretty damn funny IMO.

  • Great job Gunther. Great new look, and funny as well.

  • Maybe Hendricks is Hendricks With a pinch of Bulldog and that's alright by me

  • So much fun to watch a Kyle Hendricks start. I think he is getting shorted a little bit on his stuff. Yes, his fastball is below average. Yes, the breaking ball is as well. But the change has proven to be a plus pitch thus far in the show. The command and mettle are definitely plus as well. There aren't too many guys with "average at best" stuff that feature a Bugs Bunny change up. That's like saying a guy has average at best but also features a wipe out slider...

    Great job with the recap, Gunther! Enjoyed it.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Agreed. Jimi has been incredible. Masterful. Post game he said he feels he's pitching better here than at Iowa. He said he's had better command, but he really touted the advanced scouting reports they get in the bigs and the work he's done with Bosio. And who says he doesn't have "great stuff"?

    Outstanding Command + Movement = Great Stuff

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    In reply to TTP:

    Once he starts getting notoriety (sp?) the umps will start giving him more plate, i.e. the outside edges will magically grow wider.

  • In reply to Jeff Wilson:

    Yep, I thought same thing, like Glavine got all those calls most of his career.

  • Nice recap!

  • didn't see last night's game (yet), but wanted to inquire as to the movement KH was getting, particularly on his FB...

    i'd seen it mentioned over the last couple weeks how much he was focusing on both location and movement...assuming, if he'd been able to achieve it (or remarkably improve it over the last several starts), that would be a primary driver of his success.

    that said, how would we jibe superior location, top-notch command and plus plus control with descriptions of "average/below average stuff?"

    is that meant more as reference to his not being a 92-94 mph hurler with a wipeout slider? would certainly be an interesting outcome for a guy with "below average stuff" to have strung together this many innings of high-end pitching performance. MLB hitters are not slouches...the proof may already be in the pudding...

  • In reply to ratay1:

    It will be interesting to see how he continues to do. I think the advance scouting/charting that is available at the major league level is going to be even more valuable to someone like Hendricks. Then you add in the work he'll be doing with Bosio (who loves Hendricks as a pitcher), and I wouldn't be surprised if Hendricks actually ends up performing better at the major league level than in the minors.

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    In reply to ratay1:

    While I agree Hendricks' strength is his command and composure I think the "average/below average stuff" seems to be based on an upper-80s/low-90's fastball and not as much "nasty" on his other pitches" (with the possible exception of his change-up). However, I caution against reading too much into his early success. As John pointed out yesterday his peripherals are not very impressive. His 5.6 K/9IP is on the borderline of acceptable. It can fly as long as he can keep his BB/9IP and HR/9IP down but if those start to rise he is dead in the water. One reason for hope is that he has a long history of success in the minor leagues in all these categories (though his K/9IP number was significantly higher most of the time).

    There is also a long history of guys who pitched really well in their first season only to struggle in subsequent years. I have always had more hope than most on this site for him but I am not ready to crown him a #1 starter just yet. However, if he can keep his HR/9 between .4 and .7, walk rate below 2, and get his K/9 above 7 things could get really interesting, and these are not unbelieveable numbers.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I agree the 5.6 K/9IP is too low for sustainable success, but it's awfully close to what many view as acceptable (I think about 6.5). So, can the advanced scouting Hendricks is crediting for some of his current success, keeping his walk rate low and Bosio's tutelage make up the difference? I hope so. It's a pleasure to watch him pitch a ballgame.

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    In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    That's why I listed his 5.6 as borderline acceptable. If it were paired with a 2.3/9 BB rate and 1.3 HR rate I would be worried, but that isn't his game.

  • I love the addition of the Fangraphs chart and the insertion of the Tweets. Good stuff overall. Keep 'em coming! (The wins and the recaps)

  • Five "futures" contributing to a 3-0 shutout of the 1st place team in our division. Alacantara, Hendricks, Strop, Castro, Rizzo. Gotta love that!

  • Consistent stats don't lie.

    Hendricks has shown great command at every level. I like comparisons to Buerhle, also Fister and probably closest of all, Brandon Webb in his prime. Kyle is smart, and he locates.

    I am writing his name into future rotations with ink.

    And BTW, the repetitive doubts and slams are just exhausting. You read the same comments about a guy over and over and over, while he continues to prove you wrong. Let it go already.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I mentioned it as a mea culpa about undervaluing Hendricks so far. However, I will quibble with having to let it go already. I question still what Hendricks will become. I think all of us feel reasonably confident that he won't carry a sub 2 ERA for a full season ever in the big leagues. The question then becomes what does he settle into. Does he pitch like Travis Wood where maybe with some excellent command, feel and luck have an All-Star season or two sprinkled in with some not so stellar seasons. Is he more than that or less than that? I don't know the answer. I will say this there have been some pretty hittable pitches that have been missed so far, and I am curious to see Hendricks go through the league a second time. For now though he has done exactly what I said he has done in the recap.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    It doesn't seem like there are many doubts that Kyle Hendricks is a starting pitcher. I think folks are trying to temper enthusiasm and point out that he isn't a 1.73 ERA pitcher over the long-haul; he's been very lucky so far this year in BABIP and strand %.

    Nevertheless, he does limit walks and HRs, and that's real......he's a legit #4 IMO, and should be inked into a rotation slot next year

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That sums it pretty well Zonk. The reality is the over exuberance of Hendricks is an Ace or #2 or blah blah blah, is just as exhausting as his doubters. He is what he is and that's a BOR SP. He's off to a great start. Let's just enjoy that.

    Those that want to make him into something he is not, remind me of all those last fall/winter that claimed Junior Lake was now part of the core because he got off to a fast start. Or proclaimed T Wood was a legit #2 or #3 after the season he had last year, etc... Let's wait til we have a large enough body of work to properly evaluate him.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Consistent minor league stats lie all the time.

    Age Lg Rec ERA IP H BB/K

    20 A- 8-4 3.07 91.0 85 18/71
    21 A 8-10 2.83 168.2 166 27/96
    22 AA 7-9 3.34 145.2 162 41/128
    23 AAA 6-4 2.98 102.2 97 39/95

    21 A-,AA 2-2 2.02 21 35.2 24 6/38
    22 A+ 6-8 2.99 25 147.2 140 18/123
    23 AA,AAA 13-4 2.00 27 166.1 142 34/128
    24 AAA 10-5 3.59 17 102.2 98 23/97

    One of those players is Kyle Hendricks. The other guy pitched in a hitters era but put up nearly identical minor league numbers and advanced through the system faster, making his MLB debut two years younger. The other guy is Sergio Mitre.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    LOL, you mean the line with significantly better stats belongs to Kyle Hendricks?

    Hey, thanks for backing me up, man.

    Look, I'm not saying he's going to pitch with a 1.73 era forever. I'm saying he's rather good. Like above average to very good. Like the second best pitcher in our rotation on this very day.

    What I'm talking about is labels that scouts and bloggers repeat for all infinity. Like Baez is Sheffield. He's not, but the bat-speed label stuck. Sheff had an extraordinary K/BB rate - he was like a god. Baez never had that.

    On the flipside, Almora is assumed to be just so GREAT. But he's struggling, he doesn't walk. People like to declare over and over that he has a great approach, that he will see a lot of pitches, bla bla bla, but the numbers don't lie. He's struggling. He's not drawing walks, he's ops'ing under .700, and right now, he worries the hell out of me. Like a Tyler Colvin, but with better contact and less power. I do hope he improves with age, I know he's young - feel free to start yelling at me, I disagree.

    The proof is in the pudding. Scouts and bloggers ignore a lot of information, and it's all rooted in hope and expectation.

  • That change-up really refutes the common belief that Hendricks lacks an out pitch. Rizzo commented after yesterdays game that Brewer base runners were telling him how tough KH was to hit.

    It will be a bummer if it happens but Hendricks is a prime candidate to be shut down at the beginning of September. The most innings he has pitched in a season is 130 and he is already over 140. With another 5-6 starts Hendricks will be around 180-185, and this front office will not risk an injury due to overwork when they also want to look at Straily, Turner, or Doubront.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    Well said about shutting down Hendricks soon as we need a few good looks at Straily and Turner plus Doubront if healthy. Maybe only one ace pitcher needs to be acquired this off season.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Doubront (as John will describe better soon) got the start for Iowa last night, giving up 2 runs in 4 IP with 7K. I assume he will be here in September.

  • In reply to springs:

    Not to split hairs, but he was charged with 3 runs. All of them were earned. 7K's in 4 IP is a good sign though.

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    Regarding that hammels to bosox trade rumor: if you read nick cafardo's Sunday column last week he talks about how bogaerts and Bradley's value have fallen. I don't know Vazquez but that package is less Russell-Almora and more Vitters-Bjax though not quite that bad.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Bogaerts has been disappointing. I know he's 21 but the dropoff in his walk rate and his increase in K rate from AAA is more than I expected.

    Bradley is who a lot of people thought he was before the draft. A defensive player first with a questionable bat.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Still it's not going to be a huge sacrifice for Boston. Be interesting to see how much this deal (if it happens) becomes a salary dump.

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    Is Hendricks as good as he appears now? Probably not, but I hope he isn't Frank Castillo either. Hopefully, he ends up somewhere in between Maddux and Castillo.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If he can get the CB figured out he could be Bronson Arroyo.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    There are far worse things than having an Arroyo equivalent that you can send out to the mound every 5 games.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Absolutely. Arroyo has been one of the more consistent and succesful pitchers in the last decade. It wasn't meant to be a knock, it was meant to be a compliment. Arroyo pitched pretty well in a tough ballpark in Cincy despite average stuff because he commanded well and pitched without fear.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I hadn't interpreted what you said as a 'knock' against Hendricks (or Arroyo) mjvz,..... I think just about any team would have taken on Arroyo (or his like) - especially at Entry-level salaries - for a mid rotation guy for the last decade.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Sahadev Sharma said one scout gave him a Kyle Lohse comp. I'll take that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Indeed, that would be just fine, and seems attainable for Kyle

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Strangely enough, I'll take the Kyle Lohse comp for Hendricks but his 32-35 age seasons. Statistically speaking, Lohse has become a way better pitcher at the end of his career...he throws softer, but has better control, gives up less hits, gives you 200 innings, and brought the HR rate down. Hendricks has the "benefit" of doing that from the start as he realized early that was his only path to success.

    Lohse's Stats for his 2011-2014 seasons (age 32-35 - 4 seasons)...

    119 GS - 754.2 innings = 6.4 innings per start
    3.22 ERA - 3.76 FIP - 1.144 WHIP
    8.5 H9 / 0.9 HR9 / 1.8 BB9 / 5.8 SO9 / 3.29 SO/W ratio

    Avg. Season = 13-8, 30 Starts, 189 innings, 1 CG, 1 shutout

    If Kyle can duplicate those numbers, that would be an outstanding career and he would be a solid #3 pitcher....and with his skill set, I think the numbers are attainable.

  • Nice job, Dabs.

  • Great to see the core contribute to the win.As far as Scooter I bet Bloomie remembers when baseball was full of Scooters PeeWees Duckys and the Brats and the Lips.

  • Hendricks isn't Maddux. Hendricks is Hendricks and a lot of fun to watch. There's a lot of cogs, bells, and whistles going on in between his ears. So many baseball players are dumber than a stump. Not this guy.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Hendricks actually is starting off his career better than Mad Dog did. Mad Dog was 2-4 as a rookie and 6-14 in his 2nd year. even his 3rd year, he was 15-3 at the ASB then went 3-7 in the 2nd half of 88.

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    Great read and we, as Cub fans, should be cautiously excited about Kyle Hendricks. Not we found the next Greg Maddux, excited. However, continued work with Bosio and advanced scouting video along with a successful second time facing MLB hitters and we may have found a solid 4/5 SP who eats a lot of innings. I'm excited about that scenario.

  • All I have to say about Hendricks is,.... I am starting to drink the Kool-Ade,.... he may (indeed) be a solid, mid-rotation guy despite NOT having a single amazing 'out' pitch.

    Although - as others have put it - that Changeup just might be one.

    Sample size now up to 6 starts,.... really only 1 really bad inning in his first outing,.... 4-1 record, under 2.0 ERA,....If Arrieta can stay similar to what he has been all year this year (minimal regression anyway), Hendricks can hold this general pattern (obviously he's unlikely to stay under ERA 2.0 his whole career), and Wood can end up somewhere between what we saw in 2013 and what we have been seeing in 2014,.... that's the core of a very nice starting pitching rotation for next season.

    And if one or more among Beeler, Wada, Strailey, Turner and Doubront can be developed,..... we almost (note - I said almost) don't need to go shopping for a guy like Lester.

  • John, have you read the article by Grantland. "Hitting wins championships"?

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    In reply to CubsBuck22:

    Great article, I recommend that read for everyone.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsBuck22:

    That is a fabulous article. Thanks.

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    Spectacular article. Here's the link :

  • Great read. I like everything about it.

  • Man is it fun to watch Hendricks pitch. I know he is not an ace or going to continue to dominate at this level, but last night I decided not to care about any of that and just enjoy some quality baseball from my favorite team. Its been a while.

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    I hate to sort of disagree, but I don't think the key to Hendricks is the change up. It's his ability to command his fastball. When he wants it in, it's in. When he needs a strike, it's on the outside corner at the knees. When he misses, he frequently misses outside the strike zone, unlike Jackson who misses over the heart of the plate and pays for it. Maddux said it years ago. The key to pitching is locating your fastball. That's why Hendricks has been so good so far.

  • I agree. The pieces are falling into place for next year. Even if Hendricks isn't as good as he's been thus far (which is very likely) he looks at minimum like a 4 or 5 starter. That is an incredibly good return in the Dempster trade and someone we can count on to contribute next year.

    I hope Straily is called up soon to see what we have and give Bosio some time to work with him.....he appears to have started turning it around at Iowa.

  • In reply to Bobloblaw:

    Hendricks likely wont have a sub 2 ERA next year. He can however, likley win around 15 games and pitch 180-200 innings, which is valuable in its own right.

  • I think they will let him go a couple more starts and then the dreaded groin strain will happen getting up out of bed. He needs 160 innings and not an inning more this year

  • How many more starts does Hendricks get before being shutdown for the year? I'm guessing he is getting close to his all time high IP, right? As of now something like 145 innings pitched, and with maybe the Cubs wanting a look at some of the guys recently picked up and at AAA.

  • I didn't see last night's game, so I'm wondering if Hendricks' pitch selection has anything to do with his success. Sure, he locates well, but a prime reason batters aren't capitalizing on those "hittable" pitches just might be that they were expecting something else? Does Hendricks shake off the signs much, or is
    he throwing what the catcher calls?

    Whatever it is, I hope he can keep it up for a career or so...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    What Renteria, Bosio, Castillo, and Rizzo have all said is that he prepares extremely well, studying videos of each batter and reviewing them with his coaches and his catchers. He develops a plan of attack for each opposing batter and he sticks to it. He knows what he wants to do with each guy and follows through with it. The guy is just plain smart. He's not "as dumb as a stump" like so many ballplayers are. He takes the science (scio = to know) of pitching as seriously as the art of pitching.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Castillo was actually interviewed about this last night and he said that him and Hendricks get together before the game and plan out how they will attack each hitter, etc. So when he is on the mound him and Castillo are on the same page mostly.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It's probably one of the reasons he can work so quickly.

    Then there's Edwin "my apologies to Jim McMahon, but when I hit the turf I've really got no plan" Jackson... the anti-Hendricks.

  • If Hendricks doesn't have an "out" pitch as the "experts" say, why is it that so many batters are walking back to the dugout with their bat in their hand and their head down or their eyes staring off into the distance? They sure look "out" to me.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Kyle Hendricks K/9 ranks 33rd lowest among all pitchers in baseball who have thrown 40 innings. That is what people are referring to when they say Hendricks lacks an out pitch. Strikeouts are good for a pitcher and Hendricks doesn't do that well. Good thing for Hendricks is that he limits walks and home runs which are bad for him as a pitcher. I don't think anyone questions Hendricks deserves the ball every fifth day at this point, and I also don't think that anyone thinks he will pitch a sub 2 ERA for entire seasons. The question is where does he settle into as he (hopefully) starts 30+ games a year. I don't have an answer to that question right now, but it will be fun to watch.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Brandon Webb's age 27 Cy Young year is the ceiling I see for Kyle:
    ERA 3.10
    WHIP 1.13
    235 IP
    216 H
    15 HR
    50 BB
    178 K

    And Webb was pretty consistent before and after. He didn't throw hard. Kyle's stuff looks very similar. A lot of groundballs, pinpoint command.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    A Cy Young season is pretty well the ceiling for every pitcher. Isn't it?

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Regarding Hendricks strikeouts, with pitchers like him who don't put men on base, you need to measure them in strinkeout per batter faced not K/per 9 since they face many less batters in the first place, otherwise it skews the statistic. Consider that we really don't care how many Strikeouts a pitcher gets per 9 innings, just if he K's the batter or not. Hendricks has a K% rate (per batter faced) of 16.1% right now, if he was qualified with enough innings pitched he would be right around guys such as Verlander (17%), Vargas (16.3%), Kuroda (16.3%), and just ahead of Tillman (15.9%), Porcello (15.8%), and Danks (15.3%) That's what counts for a guy like Hendricks in my opinion. Dave Cameron on Fangraphs said it best...

    "While Maddux was not Randy Johnson, his strikeout totals have often been undersold because strikeout rate has often been measured as total strikeouts per nine innings, rather than per batter faced. Because Maddux never put anyone on base, his innings often consisted of just three batters instead of four or five, giving him fewer opportunities to record a strikeout each inning. On a percentage basis, though, in-his-prime Maddux was actually a prolific strikeout pitcher.

    Take 1995, for instance. Among pitchers who threw just 100 innings — a lower barrier than usual due to the shortened season — Maddux’s 7.77 K/9 ranked just 18th in baseball, in between Jeff Fassero and Mark Gardner. But by K%, which just looks at strikeouts per batter faced, his 23.1% strikeout rate was 5th best in baseball, putting him in a near tie with John Smoltz, who no one considered a pitch-to-contact strike-thrower. In fact, Maddux’s strikeout rate in 1995 was 35% better than the league average, and if you translate that into 2013, his 1995 strikeout rate was essentially equivalent to the K% that Matt Harvey put up last year. 1995 Maddux was 2013 Matt Harvey if he also never walked anyone and gave up the fewest number of home runs in recent baseball history."

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Wow, that's an amazing perspective about K rates that I never thought of before. I also think the 5.6 K/9 rate is being talked about too much as if he will be at this rate the rest of his career. It will end up a lot higher, probably in the 6-7 range, which is where he has been his whole minor league career.

    Hendricks brings two "plus-plus" factors to his game: a) great command - throws strikes consistently, also hits his location consistently; even when it is out of the strike zone. b) changes speeds on the pitch thrown consistently well. He has two different changeups, according to Renteria, so shows the nuances even to how he can change speeds.

    It is very early in his career to make predictions and projections as to how he will turn out, but it is fun to do just that. But what I see a lot here is almost a desperate tendency to pigeon-hole the guy as a 4/5 starter who eats innings. Why throw all the cold water on someone who, at least right now, is pitching like the best pitcher on the staff?

    Let's just enjoy what we have now, and let people go ga-ga over him. He's certainly earned it so far.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Hendricks is certainly making the Dempster trade look awfully good. Just think , 2 years ago everyone was wondering who Kyle Hendricks was. Any bets Texas wouldnt mind having him back? Seems like our front office made out well with that trade,.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yeah, really. The Cubs traded for Kyle Who? Just like I said 'Kyle Schwhoo?' when Schwarber was drafted.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'm surprised that other GMs are willing to talk trade with Epstein and Hoyer. They've got to be checking underneath their trousers to make sure they still have shorts.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That is a really good point GD. I will have to remember that.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Tell that to Ryan Braun. I believe he would say he saw an out pitch or two. I believe that Hendricks can throw an "out" pitch when he needs to. Other times his "out" pitch makes the batter hit a ground ball or a lazy fly or pop-up. The guy is smart enough to realize that he doesn't have to strike out every batter he faces. It took Samardzija at least a couple years to get to that point, and it is debatable that he really grasped the concept.

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    In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Nice job Gunther. But here's a question for you. Whose to say that those K/9 don't improve for him next season? I mean the kid was really just brought up to show what he could do. But we know that he is a guy that does a lot of homework to prepare for each start and he has an uncanny ability to throw strikes on the black. He is also now able to work more closely with Bosio while in Chicago.

    I'm not trying to play devil's advocate as I am amazing as others that this kids is making a splash right now. The bottom line for me is right now the kid is just a joy to watch. I've been reading about him since we acquired him. There have been doubter's all along his way. Maybe it's time to give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

    Wasn't that same idea given to Edwin Jackson for the longest time. After we acquired him we all talked about his stats that showed he was probably a better pitcher than his results showed. Yet he still shows terrible results. And I'm sure most would agree that Jackson's "stuff" is greater than Hendricks.

    I guess I'll just have to believe my lying eyes on this one....

  • Very interesting Ghost. I never thought of it that way before.

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    Thanks. Consider this, two starting pitchers go 9 innings (to make it easy)...

    Pitcher #1 faces 35 batters and strikes out 7 = 7 SO/9, 20% K rate (per batter faced)

    Pitcher #2 faces 30 batters and strikes out 6 = 6 SO/9, 20% K rate

    Pitcher #1 has a higher SO per 9, but I would much rather have Pitcher #2 with 5 less batters reaching base and the same K%.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Wasn't this Shark's problem last year, trying to strike everybody out and in doing so he was raising his pitch counts so he couldn't finish games?

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    In reply to SKMD:

    It raises pitch counts and it also is 5 more batters that could each get ahold of a "mistake."

    I love checking in on the Cubs games and seeing Hendricks humming along in the 6th inning with 70 pitches thrown. I remember lots of games with higher K/9 pitchers where 70 pitches came in the 4th inning.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Very interesting. Of course you would rather face less batters! Thanks

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    The two man recaps are good so far. For what its worth a month back Peter Gammons said Cubs brass told him they saw Hendricks as a potential number 3 starter. It seemed ambitious but maybe they are right.

  • Strikeout percentage is a nice way to evaluate hendricks. I also think kyle hasn't be getting a lot low strikes. He will probably strikeout more when he gets in tougher situations, he looks like a guy who likes to save his best stuff when he needs that out.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    That's what it looks like to me, too. I think only the most dangerous hitters are seeing his 'A' game. This guy has a lot of intangibles to him.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Indeed, ryan braun saw that.

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