Even though his ERA rose by nearly a run last season, Kyle Hendricks solidified himself as the Cubs' ace while Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta saw their numbers plunge following the team's World Series-winning campaign. With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high-80s, Hendricks isn't a prototypical top-of-the-rotation arm, but his brilliance lies in his ability to stay ahead of hitters in the count, avoid mistakes and eat innings efficiently. Those attributes rarely yield lofty strikeout totals for the right-hander, but Hendricks is capable of netting fantasy owners above-average production in wins, ERA and WHIP so long as the offense and defense supporting him remain strong. Staying healthy was an issue for Hendricks in 2017 and prevented him from justifying his draft-day price, but he was sensational upon returning from right hand tendinitis in late July and presents little risk heading into spring training. He turned in a 2.19 ERA and 3.79 K/BB after the All-Star break, both of which were roughly in line with his 2016 marks.
Hendricks (illness) threw a 105-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports. Hendricks was scratched from his scheduled appearance during Tuesday's spring game due to strep throat. There shouldn't be any concern for his availability as Opening Day approaches.
Hendricks was scratched from his scheduled minor-league appearance Tuesday with strep throat, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Hendricks should be fine by the start of the season. The 28-year-old righty has been excellent so far this spring, striking out 21 batters while walking none in 15 innings.
Hendricks is working with new Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey to fine-tune his curveball during spring training, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. For his career, Hendricks has used the curve just under eight percent of the time, so it's not something hitters see that much of. The righty has instead mainly relied on a fastball-changeup combo. Perhaps Hendricks will use the pitch more this season if he becomes more comfortable with it during the spring.
Hendricks said he feels healthier this spring compared to last year, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Last spring, Hendricks dealt with a sore hand, which he attributed to doing too much work on the side. "It made sense with me because at that point in the year, my mechanics weren't solid, so my reps were getting higher because I was trying to find it," Hendricks said. This year, he said he'll do less between spring training starts in an effort to stay fresh. Hendricks is slated to start the Cubs' second game of the regular season against the Marlins.
Hendricks agreed to a one-year, $4.175 million deal with the Cubs on Friday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports. This marked his first of three offseasons as an arbitration-eligible player. Hendricks was a vital piece of the Cubs' rotation yet again in 2017, posting a 3.03 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with a 123:40 K:BB over 24 starts. Although his numbers didn't compare to his phenomenal campaign a year prior, Hendricks delivered with a great second half of the season after returning from right hand tendinitis in late July.