Kyle Hendricks is Special and Other Bullets

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Kyle Hendricks is Special and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

kyle hendricks cubs featureWe’ll have a live stream of BNTV tonight at 8pm CT/9pm ET here at BN, so tune in for the fun. I have such a backlog of questions to get to that I’m not even going to solicit further questions, because there’s no way I’d get to them.

  • John Sickels writes about Kyle Hendricks’ evolutionary path as a pitching prospect and now big league pitcher. It seems like the scouting reports got less and less optimistic as the results got better and better at higher and higher levels. He’s really a unique and special pitcher in that regard, demonstrating that effectively commanding four average or slightly better than average pitches can work, even without great velocity or stuff. Having watched Hendricks in the second half last year, and having dug into the stats, I land where I think most thoughtful people do on him: I’m glad that the Cubs have him, I’m perfectly happy to see him get a rotation spot next year no matter what, and although I’m not expecting another sub-3 ERA, I think he can be a very solid 3/4/5 in a good rotation. Theo Epstein is clearly high on Hendricks, having offered effusive praise at the recent season ticket holder event, and when he gets the chance on the radio. The Cubs have lots of internal rotation options for 2015, but I think it’s fair to say that the only two guys who are guaranteed a rotation spot assuming health right now are Jake Arrieta and Hendricks. That says a lot.
  • Danny Ecker profiles the owner of the South Bend Cubs, Andrew Berlin, who is also an investor in the White Sox, who understands his role within the Cubs’ machinery quite well: “I’m helping the Cubs in the sense that I’m going to take very, very good care of their very important human assets that they send to me every summer,” he told Ecker. It’s a good read not only on Berlin, but on the South Bend franchise, generally. Ecker added this on Twitter, which elicited a wow from me:

  • That is a valuable affiliation change right there.
  • Mark Gonzales writes about Cubs outfield prospect Billy McKinney, whom I love for a breakout next year together with the outfielder who’ll probably be playing alongside him at AA Tennessee, Albert Almora. Interesting that McKinney says he didn’t feel any different in how he played between the California League (numbers down) and the Florida State League (numbers up) – the ball just wasn’t falling before his trade to the Cubs. When it comes to small sample “down” periods, that’s often the case, and I dig his maturity in being willing to mention it.
  • The Solar Sox lost again yesterday, with Dan Vogelbach and Jacob Hannemann each going hitless with three Ks combined. Addison Russell had a single and a walk in four plate appearances. Zach Cates got one out, which was all he was asked to do.
  • More excellent research from Jon Roegele, this time on Tommy John surgeries. There is SO MUCH interesting information in the piece, and it’s going to become a constant reference point for me. Among the stuff to check out: average return times over the years (now down to 13/14 months), the clear peak ages for the surgery (20 to 25), and the successful return rate (hovering around 90%, and actually not improving in recent  years).

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.