kyle hendricks iowa cubsIt is early yet, but, after yesterday’s start, Kyle Hendricks is posting his best K/9 figure since Short Season A ball in 2011. Hendricks had never been much of a strikeout artist at any level, but through three starts this season he’s holding fairly steady around 9 K/9.

Could this be the effect of the improved cutter he spoke of a few weeks ago? It might be a little early to say that for sure. If this trends hold through another few starts, though, we might have consider upping his ceiling a bit. Currently I have him pegged as more of a back of the rotation guy, but if he has added a real strikeout weapon to his already good ground ball stuff and great control he starts to push into solid No 3 territory. We will be keeping a very close eye on Hendricks as the season progresses.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa rallied in the seventh and took their record over .500 with this 7-6 win.
Tennessee – After this 7-2 win, the Smokies are back to .500.
Daytona – Daytona struck first, but they did not strike again. They lost 5-1.
Kane County – Kane County erupted for five runs in the top of the ninth and walked away with a 6-2 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Kyle Hendricks allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and struck out 9 through 7 innings. He only allowed one walk. Even more on Hendricks in a bit.
  • [Iowa] All aboard the Josh Vitters bandwagon! The Cubs left fielder hit two more doubles in this one, raising his OPS to a comfortable .892.
  • [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara put together his best Triple A game, finishing 3 for 5 and a home run short of the cycle.
  • [Tennessee] Jake Arrieta was very effective in this one. Over 5.2 innings and 82 pitches he allowed just one run on 3 hits and struck out 2.

  • [Tennessee] After two more innings on Tuesday, P.J. Francescon is up to 7.1 innings on the season without an earned run allowed. He has struck 10 in that span, and walked just two.
  • [Tennessee] As soon as he has enough plate appearances to be meaningful we are going to have to talk about Kris Bryant‘s walk rates. He went 1 for 2 with a double and a walk in this game and now has 8 walks in 43 trips to the plate. That’s good for a crazy high walk rate over 18%.
  • [Daytona] Daytona’s offense has been somewhat lackluster so far this spring, and that in turn has somewhat masked a good start to the year by Marco Hernandez. After going 2 for 3 with a walk in this one, he is hitting .308/.372/.308 on the young season.
  • [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach might be starting to warm up. After yesterday’s 1 for 3 with a walk performance he has now reached base twice in three of his last five games. That may not sound like much, but remember that patience and plate approach are big parts of his game. That he is getting on base more regularly now implies he is starting to see the ball well. If that is the case, then the hits will start to come soon.

  • [Kane County] All nine hitters in the Cougars line up got exactly one hit in this game. Jacob Hannemann and Trey Martin doubled. All the rest were singles.
  • [Kane County] Hannemann (with one) and Carlos Penalver (with two) accounted for all three of Kane County’s walks. Hannemann also stole two bases giving him 7 for the season (more on that in a minute). Penalver also swiped a bag and now has 5 this year.
  • [Kane County] Tyler Skulina (5 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K) had a very nice start, but he was somewhat upstaged by his bullpen. Gerardo Concepcion went 2.1 innings in hitless fashion, striking out one. Tyler Bremer recorded the final 5 outs allowing a walk, a hit, and striking out a pair.

Other News

  • One more tidbit on Hendricks – his 2014 GO/AO is now 2.89. That is ridiculously good for a pitcher in Triple A. To put that into context, if Hendricks were to pitch a complete game at that ratio, and he retired every hitter on a ball in play, only seven of those outs would come on fly balls. I can imagine a guy like Hendricks frustrating a lot of opposing hitters on days when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley.
  • The first bag stolen by Jacob Hannemann yesterday was home. I’m fairly certain that is the first steal of home we’ve had in organization this year, and only the 2,007 in attendance got to see it because the Bowling Green stadium is not wired for video. Judging from the recap and the Kane County twitter account, it was more of a reaction to Carlos Penalver stealing second or a delayed break double steal than a straight steal of home. Regardless, the steal of home is one of the most exciting plays in baseball and I really, really wish we had video of it. Oh well. Maybe next time.

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