Kyle Hendricks

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Kyle Christian Hendricks

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Kyle Hendricks is an Ivy Leaguer, having attended Dartmouth College.

Amateur Career[edit]

Originally from California, he was 8-2 with a 0.93 ERA as a senior in high school, winning South Coast League Player of the Year. He was picked by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 39th round of the 2008 draft, but chose to head east to pursue his education instead. As a freshman at Dartmouth, he was 6-3 with a 4.84 ERA. He was second-team All-Ivy League and was a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American. He fell to 4-6, 7.49 with a .327 opponent average as a sophomore. His junior year, he improved significantly to 5-3, 2.47 with 70 K to 11 walks in 62 innings. He tied for the Ivy League lead in wins and tied for second in strikeouts. He was 33rd in NCAA Division I in strikeouts per game.

Minor Leagues[edit]

The Texas Rangers chose Hendricks in the 8th round of the 2011 amateur draft. The scout was Jay Heafner.

After signing with the Rangers, Hendricks headed to the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League to begin his professional career. He was 2-2 with 3 saves and a 1.93 ERA in 20 outings as a reliever and was given the opportunity to start one game in the AA Texas League, pitching 3 innings for the Frisco RoughRiders in the regular season and one game in the playoffs. He allowed a .180 average for the summer, with righties hitting only .135. Baseball America rated him as the #20 prospect in the NWL. In 2012 he was sent to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League, having skipped a level, and held his own quite well. His 5-8 record in 20 starts belied an excellent 2.82 ERA, and especially a K/W rate of 112/15 in 130 2/3 innings. The Chicago Cubs for one, liked what they saw, as they acquired him along with another blue chip prospect, 3B Christian Villanueva, in return for Ryan Dempster (then leading the 2012 NL in ERA) in a July 31st trade.

Major Leagues[edit]

Hendricks was called up to the major leagues to make his debut on July 10, 2014, as the Cubs' starter against the Cincinnati Reds following thew trade of starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics. In his debut, he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings and was not involved in the decision, a 6-4 win by the Cubs. After going back briefly to the minors during the All-Star break, he was back in Chicago on July 22nd, when he earned his first career win with an excellent start against the San Diego Padres, giving up no runs on 5 hits in 7 innings and combining with two relievers on a 6-0 shutout. He was named the National League Rookie of the Month in August when he went 4-0, 1.69. He finished the season at 7-2, 2.46 in 13 starts, one of a number of youngsters to make a successful debut in the majors that year.

Hendricks recorded his first career complete game and shutout on May 21, 2015, when he defeated the San Diego Padres, 3-0. It was his first win of the year, as he had ended up with 6 no-decisions and a loss in his first seven starts. He went 8-7, 3.85 in 32 starts, getting a decision in less than half of his outings in spite of logging 180 innings. He struck out 167 batters and made a start each in the Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and against the New York Mets in the League Champions Series; typically, he was not involved in the decision in either game.

In 2016, however, he set a new personal high for wins by the end of July as his record was a better reflection of how well he was pitching behind staff aces Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey. On August 1st, he recorded his second career shutout when he defeated the Miami Marlins, 5-0. It was his 10th win of the year, and the performance lowered his ERA to 2.22, third-best in the majors at that point. On August 30th, he lowered his ERA further, to 2.09, with 7 shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 3-0 win, his 13th of the year. He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for August on the basis of a 4-0 record and an ERA of 1.28 in 42 1/3 innings. On September 12th, he took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals until Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the inning with a homer; he was then taken out of the game, but received credit for a 4-1 win and lowered his ERA even further, to 2.03. He finished the season at 16-8, 2.13, winning the NL ERA title as a result of Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers falling a few innings short of the 162 needed to qualify. On October 22nd, he won one of the most important games in the history of the Cubs, when he pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS. Facing the Dodgers and Kershaw with the Cubs one game away from qualifying for the World Series for the first time since 1945, he was superb, facing the minimum number of batters through the end of the 7th thanks to a double play and a successful pick-off that wiped out the only two men he allowed to reach base. He was removed from the game with a 5-0 lead after Josh Reddick had singled off him with one out in the 8th, then Aroldis Chapman got the next batter to ground into a double play. The Cubs won the game with only the minimum number of batters possible - 27 - coming to bat for L.A., breaking the supposed "Curse of the Billy Goat" in the process. He started two games in the World Series: in Game 3, he gave up no runs in 4 1/3 innings and Chicago eventually lost, 1-0, then he started Game 7 on November 2nd. He seemed to be perfectly in control of things, holding a 5-1 lead in the 5th when he issued a two-out walk to Carlos Santana. Joe Maddon took him out in favor of Lester at that point and a single, an error by C David Ross and a wild pitch allowed Santana (and Jason Kipnis) to score before the inning ended. The Cubs eventually won that epic game in 10 innings to claim their first title since 1908.

In 2017, Kyle went just 7-5, 3.03 as he was limited to 24 starts and 139 2/3 innings. However, he was solid in the postseason, making two starts against the Washington Nationals in the Division Series and going 1-0, 3.27 in pitching 11 innings. In the NLCS against the Dodgers, however, he started Game 3 on October 17th but allowed 4 runs in 5 innings. With Yu Darvish holding the Cubs to just 1 run, he was charged with the 6-1 loss. In 2018, he was back in full health and made 33 starts while pitching 199 innings. He was particularly solid down the stretch, going 4-1 in September as the Cubs weer in a tight playoff race. he finished the year at 14-11, 3.44 and continued to post an impressive K/W ratio at 161/44. In the postseason, the Cubs made a quick exit as they lost the Wild Card Game to the Colorado Rockies on October 2nd. It was a "all hands on deck" situation for the Cubs and even though Jon Lester started the game, other starters such as Cole Hamels and then Kyle were called to the mound as the game went into extra innings. Hendricks was brought in to replace Justin Wilson with one out in the 12th and the score tied at 1. He got the last two outs of the inning, then in the 13th, after two quick outs, allowed three consecutive singles to Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra and Tony Wolters to bring the go-ahead run across the plate. Jorge De La Rosa replaced him at that point, but the damage was done as the Cubs were unable to score in the bottom of the inning and he was charged with the season-ending loss.

On March 26, 2019, Hendricks signed a contract extension taking him to 2023 and worth 55.5 million. His extension was part of a clear trend, with a number of teams opening their wallets to sign their top-rank pitchers for the longer term in a short pan before the start of the season. On May 3rd, he had a game that was a real throwback to the days of Greg Maddux, as he needed just 81 pitches to throw a complete game shutout over the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0. He went 11-10, 3.46 in 30 starts on the year.

He opened the 2020 season by throwing a three-hit, complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Cubs' first game on July 24th; he also did not walk a batter in the game. That was a harbinger of things to come, as he pitched very well for the division-leading Cubs, earning the nickname "Baby Maddux" along the way as he reminded observers of his aforementioned predecessor with the Cubs, who also had a knack for pitching deep into games and keeping hitters baffled with location and not velocity. On September 7th, he shut down the St. Louis Cardinals over 8 innings in a 5-1 win against the Cubs' closest pursuers, who had been steadily gaining ground on them. It was a rare thing for a starting pitcher to pitch even into the 6th inning in that unusual season delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic, so his league-leading total of 58 innings pitched at that point was a god-send to manager David Ross. He finished the year at 6-5, 2.88 in 12 starts, pitching 81 1/3 innings with a K/W ratio of 64/8. He started Game 1 of the Division Series against the Miami Marlins on September 30th and did not pitch badly, allowing 3 runs in 6 1/3 innings, but was charged with the 5-1 loss as the Cubs were swept in two games.

He had a strange season in 2021, for a Cubs team that went through a mid-season fire sale. He had a very good win/loss record of 14-7 for a team that finished well below .500 at 71-91, and that in spite of an ERA of 4.77 and leading the National League in hits allowed with 200. He still managed to finish in the top in the league in quality starts with 19 (out of 32), but also had 6 starts in which he surrendered 6 or more earned runs. That made him only the second pitcher since 1995 to finish in the top 10 in quality starts with an ERA above 4.50, after Kevin Millwood in 2006.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL ERA Leader (2016)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2016)
  • Won one World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016


Further Reading[edit]

  • Jenifer Langosch: "Hendricks a rock star: G6 start legendary",, October 23, 2016. [1]
  • Carrie Muskat: "'Absurd' Hendricks thrusting self into Cy mix: With 2nd career SHO, righty has MLB-best 1.04 ERA over last 9 outings",, August 2, 2016. [2]
  • Carrie Muskat: "Improved command, approach key to Hendricks' 2016 success: Statcast data bears out Cubs right-hander's ability to get called strikes",, January 31, 2017. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "No-hitter or not, Cubs' Kyle Hendricks might be NL's best pitcher", USA Today Sports, September 13, 2016. [4]

Related Sites[edit]