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Hendricks pitching in the 2016 World Series
|Chicago Cubs – No. 28|
|Born: December 7, 1989|
Newport Beach, California
|July 10, 2014, for the Chicago Cubs|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 28, 2018)
|Earned run average||3.07|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kyle Christian Hendricks (born December 7, 1989), is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2014, and led MLB in earned run average during the 2016 season. Hendricks is listed at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and 190 pounds (86 kg). He throws and bats right-handed.
Hendricks attended Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, California. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, but did not sign and instead chose to attend Dartmouth College.
He played college baseball for the Dartmouth Big Green under head coach Bob Whalen. In his junior year, Hendricks pitched to a 6–3 win–loss record and a 2.47 earned run average with 70 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched.
The Texas Rangers selected Hendricks in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He signed with the Rangers, and began his professional career with the Spokane Indians of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. The Cubs acquired Hendricks with Christian Villanueva in exchange for Ryan Dempster at the 2012 trade deadline. Hendricks began the 2013 season with the Tennessee Smokies of the Class AA Southern League, and the Cubs promoted Hendricks to the Iowa Cubs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (PCL) during the season. The Cubs named Hendricks their minor league pitcher of the year for 2013.
Hendricks began the 2014 season with Iowa. He was named the PCL's Pitcher of the Week for May 12–18.
After the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics on July 4, 2014, Hendricks made his Major League Baseball debut with the Chicago Cubs on July 10, 2014 against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. He earned his first win in front of a home crowd against the San Diego Padres on July 22, 2014. Hendricks was named the National League Rookie of the Month of August. Hendricks finished his rookie season with a 7–2 win-loss record and a 2.46 ERA. Hendricks tied for seventh place with Travis d'Arnaud and Jeurys Familia in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting.
Following an impressive rookie season, Hendricks began the 2015 season as a member of the Cubs' starting rotation, led by the newly signed Jon Lester. On May 21, Hendricks threw his first career complete game shutout against the San Diego Padres, striking out seven and facing three batters over the minimum.
His record was 8–7 with 180 innings pitched and he had an ERA of 3.95. His 17 no decisions were the most among MLB starting pitchers in 2015. He was the starter for game two of the 2015 National League Division Series with St. Louis and game three in the 2015 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets.
Hendricks finished his first half of the 2016 season with a solid 7–6 record with a rotation leading 2.55 ERA. He threw his second career complete game against the Phillies on May 28 and was one out short of a shutout. He skipped in front of a struggling John Lackey to get the third spot in the Cubs rotation for the second half of the season. On August 1, Hendricks threw another complete game for a shutout in a 5–0 victory against the Miami Marlins. He had the best ERA from July 1 – August 1 in the whole league at 1.00. On August 7, Hendricks picked up his 11th win and moved his ERA down to 2.17, placing him as the second-lowest in the NL and lowest among Cubs starters.
Hendricks entered September with a 13–7 record and earned run average of 2.09 in 159 innings pitched, which led all major league starting pitchers. He was named NL Pitcher of the Month for August. On September 12, Hendricks took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Busch Stadium against Chicago's rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, before allowing a lead-off home run to Jeremy Hazelbaker in ninth inning.
Hendricks finished the 2016 season with a record of 16–8 in 190 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.13, which was the lowest in all of baseball. He was the first Cub to lead the National League in the stat since 1945 and the first to lead the majors since 1938. He also led all major league pitchers in first-strike percentage (68.6%).
In Game 6 of the NLCS, Hendricks pitched 7 1⁄3 innings facing the minimum in the clinching game to send the Cubs to their first World Series since 1945. The Cubs won the 2016 World Series over the Cleveland Indians, with Hendricks as the starting pitcher in Games 3 and 7, giving them their first title in 108 years.
On June 8, 2017, Hendricks was placed on the 10-day disabled list (transaction retroactive 3 days prior) due to middle finger tendon inflammation in his right hand. His record at the time was 4–3 with a 4.09 earned run average in 61.2 innings pitched. Hendricks returned from the disabled list on July 24, and over his final 13 starts posted a much improved 2.19 ERA in 78 innings pitched.
He finished the season with a 7–5 record and a 3.03 ERA over 139.2 innings. He tied for the major league lead in pickoffs, with seven, while allowing 13 stolen bases and having four caught stealing. Hendricks pitched Games 1 and 5 of the NLDS, and Game 3 of the NLCS. Across the three games, Hendricks was 1–1 with a 3.94 ERA in a combined 17 innings.
In 2018, he was 14–11 with a 3.44 ERA and led all major league pitchers in changeup percentage (30.7%). He was the losing pitcher in the NL Wild Card Game, giving up three straight hits and one run in the 13th inning against the Colorado Rockies.
Hendricks throws a sinker (87-90 mph), cutter (86-88 mph), changeup (79-81 mph), curveball (79- 81 mph), and the occasional 4-seam fastball (89-91 mph). Hendricks mixes his pitches very well, using all except the 4-seam with regularity, to both left-handed and right-handed batters. During his breakout 2016 campaign, Hendricks became known for his increasing ability to locate his pitches and his ability to make all of his offerings move with considerable break, the sinker in particular. Hendricks is also known for his unique use of a second changeup, which tails glove-side (like a curveball or slider) as opposed to down or arm-side like most other changeups. The precision of his sinker control and his strong mix of second offerings makes up for Hendricks' lack of velocity, and adds up to an average strikeout total for a major league starter. Kyle Hendricks is able to use hit cutter to jam left handed hitters who think the pitch is a strike before the inside break. His cutter works well with his sinker which if thrown to the inside part of the plate to lefties will have a lot of looking strikes and ground ball outs. Kyle Hendricks also is able to get weak contact and many ground balls.
Hendricks grew up in San Juan Capistrano, California, and later attended Capistrano Valley High School. His father, John, is a golf pro; his mother, Ann Marie, is a medical-management consultant. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from Dartmouth College in December 2013, after completing his coursework in the winter of 2012 and fall of 2013. Hendricks is nicknamed "The Professor" by his teammates and fans. The nickname is not only a reference to Hendricks' Ivy League education, but also an homage to Greg Maddux, who also sported the same nickname. Hendricks chose "Hendo" as his nickname for the Players Weekend during the 2017 season.
Hendricks married longtime girlfriend Emma Cain in November 2017.
After beginning the season as the last starter in the Cubs rotation, the soft-throwing Dartmouth graduate whom teammates call the Professor has blossomed into one of the best pitchers in baseball.