After having a breakout season, can Kyle Hendricks have the same level of success in 2017 and provide MLB betting value on the player futures market?
Birth of a Star
Last season we all witnessed how Kyle Hendricks became the ace of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff and one of the main reasons why they won the World Series. His performance almost earned him the NL Cy Young award and he won the ERA title; which was nothing short of amazing. The new season starts in less than three weeks and the Cubs need similar numbers from him in order to make another postseason run. Can he deliver once again?
Model of Consistency
Now with two full seasons under his bet and with last year's success to build upon, it's hard not to expect Kyle Hendricks to shine once again. Hendricks is now one of the top starters in one of the best starting rotations in the majors and the Cubs will rely on him more than ever. That added pressure might worry other players but the way Hendricks performed in last year's NLCS and World Series tells us that he is up for the challenge.
Consistent is the best way to describe what Hendricks has done over the last two seasons. His delivery, his emotions and his numbers have been similar over his first two full seasons in the big leagues.
2015: 180 innings pitched, 167 strikeouts, 43 walks (3.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio), 1.16 WHIP
2016: 190 innings pitched, 170 strikeouts, 44 walks (3.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio), 0.98 WHIP
Hendricks ranked 13th in walks in 2015 and 9th in 2016 among all National League starters who threw at least 140 innings. He was also in the top 20 in strikeouts in both years and ranked 13th and 3rd in WHIP (Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitched).
We have no way to know if these numbers will continue, but his consistency suggests that he will perform well once again. I'm not expecting Hendricks to win 16 games this season but I recommend betting on his season win total to go 'Over' 13.5 (+100) at BetOnline.
That would be a high-value MLB pick because if healthy, Hendricks will pitch at least 180 innings with around 160 strikeouts and 40 walks and I believe that with the potent offense and the solid defense that the Cubs have, Hendricks should also be among the candidates to win the 2017 NL Cy Young. Right now Bovada has Hendricks at +3300 MLB odds to win this award.
Last season he finished third in NL Cy Young voting and he led the majors with a 2.13 ERA in 30 starts. Will he continue his dominance? If the Cubs want to win the World Series again they need him at his best and he has proven that he has what it takes to step up not just this season but in years to come.