Why is Kyle Hendricks So Good?

Frank Jones

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Why is Kyle Hendricks So Good

Kyle Hendricks is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, widely regarded as one of the best in the game. With a career ERA of 3.12 and a 2021 season in which he went 14-6 with a 4.14 ERA, Hendricks has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with on the mound.

But what is it about Hendricks that makes him so successful? In this blog post, we will explore the unique combination of skills and attributes that have made Kyle Hendricks one of the best pitchers in baseball today.

From his exceptional command and precise control, to his ability to induce weak contact, to his intelligence and mental toughness, we will break down the elements that make Hendricks such a standout performer.

Exceptional Command and Precise Control

One of Kyle Hendricks’ greatest strengths as a pitcher is his exceptional command and precise control of his pitches. Hendricks has the ability to locate his pitches exactly where he wants them, hitting the corners of the strike zone with pinpoint accuracy.

This allows him to stay ahead of batters, forcing them to swing at pitches that they may not want to swing at.

In addition, Hendricks has a knack for changing speeds effectively. He utilizes a variety of pitches, including a fastball, changeup, sinker, and curveball, and he can throw them all for strikes.

By mixing up his pitches and changing speeds, Hendricks keeps batters off-balance and guessing at what’s coming next. This makes it more difficult for them to get good contact on the ball, resulting in weakly-hit ground balls and pop-ups.

Hendricks’ precision and ability to change speeds also enable him to get batters to chase pitches out of the strike zone. When a batter is behind in the count, they may be more likely to swing at pitches that they normally wouldn’t.

Hendricks can take advantage of this by throwing pitches just outside the strike zone that look tempting to the batter, but are difficult to hit well. This generates swings and misses or weak contact, leading to easy outs for the defense.

Overall, Hendricks’ exceptional command and precise control of his pitches, combined with his ability to change speeds effectively, make him a formidable opponent on the mound. He is able to keep batters off-balance and induce weak contact, resulting in fewer hits and runs allowed.

Pitching to Contact

Pitching to contact is a pitching strategy where a pitcher aims to induce batters to make contact with the ball, rather than trying to strike them out.

The idea is to throw pitches that are difficult for batters to hit with authority, resulting in weakly hit balls that are easy for the defense to handle. This strategy can lead to fewer walks, higher pitch efficiency, and fewer home runs and extra-base hits allowed.

Kyle Hendricks is a master of pitching to contact. He is able to induce ground balls and pop-ups by using a variety of pitches that move and sink, making it difficult for batters to hit the ball with power.

This results in a high number of easy outs for the defense and fewer home runs and extra-base hits allowed. In fact, in 2021, Hendricks had a ground ball rate of 49.3%, which was among the highest in the league.

By inducing weak contact, Hendricks also keeps his pitch count down, allowing him to pitch deeper into games. This can be a huge advantage for the Cubs, as it saves wear and tear on their bullpen and increases the likelihood of winning games.

Furthermore, pitching to contact is a strategy that can work well in the postseason. In playoff games, when the pressure is high and every pitch counts, the ability to induce weak contact can be a huge advantage.

Hendricks has proven himself to be a reliable postseason performer, and his ability to pitch to contact is a big reason why.

Overall, Kyle Hendricks’ ability to pitch to contact is a major part of what makes him such a successful pitcher. By inducing ground balls and pop-ups, he is able to keep batters off-balance and generate easy outs, resulting in fewer runs allowed and a higher likelihood of winning games.

Intelligence and Mental Toughness

Kyle Hendricks is known for being an intelligent and cerebral pitcher. He has an excellent understanding of the game and is able to analyze opposing hitters to develop effective game plans.

Hendricks is also known for his meticulous preparation, spending countless hours studying video and scouting reports to gain an edge on his opponents.

Hendricks’ intelligence and knowledge of the game have contributed significantly to his success. He is able to make adjustments quickly during games, changing his pitch selection and location based on what he sees from opposing hitters.

This allows him to stay one step ahead of batters and keep them off-balance.

In addition to his intelligence, Hendricks is known for his work ethic, dedication, and mental toughness. He is a pitcher who is willing to put in the extra work needed to succeed at the highest level. He is constantly refining his mechanics and working to improve his pitches.

Hendricks’ mental toughness is particularly impressive. He is able to maintain his focus and composure, even in high-pressure situations.

This allows him to perform well in big games and crucial moments. Hendricks is also able to overcome adversity, bouncing back quickly from bad outings or rough innings.

Overall, Kyle Hendricks’ intelligence, work ethic, and mental toughness are key components of his success on the mound. He is a pitcher who is able to outsmart and outwork his opponents, using his knowledge and dedication to gain an edge.

Hendricks’ mental toughness also helps him perform well under pressure, making him a reliable and effective pitcher in clutch situations.

Kyle Hendricks’ Pitching Statistics (2018-2022)

SeasonGames PlayedInnings PitchedWinsLossesERAWHIPStrikeoutsQuality Starts

This table shows Hendricks’ pitching statistics from the 2018 to 2022 seasons, including the number of games played, innings pitched, wins, losses, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and quality starts.

The data highlights Hendricks’ consistency as a starting pitcher, as he has recorded 18 or more wins in both 2021 and 2022, while also maintaining a relatively low ERA and WHIP. The table also shows his ability to produce quality starts, as he had at least 18 in each of the past four seasons.


Has Kyle Hendricks won any awards or accolades for his pitching?

Yes, Kyle Hendricks has been recognized for his pitching prowess. In 2016, he finished third in voting for the National League Cy Young Award, which is given annually to the best pitcher in each league. He was also named an All-Star in 2021.

What pitches does Kyle Hendricks throw?

Kyle Hendricks primarily relies on three pitches: a sinker, changeup, and four-seam fastball. He also occasionally mixes in a cutter and curveball.

What is Kyle Hendricks’ pitching style like?

Kyle Hendricks is a finesse pitcher who relies on location and changing speeds rather than overpowering batters with velocity. He pitches to contact, inducing ground balls and pop-ups while minimizing walks and home runs allowed.

How long has Kyle Hendricks been with the Chicago Cubs?

Kyle Hendricks has been with the Chicago Cubs since 2014, when he was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers. He has since become a mainstay in the Cubs’ starting rotation.

Does Kyle Hendricks have any notable achievements outside of baseball?

Kyle Hendricks was a standout student-athlete at Dartmouth College, where he earned a degree in economics. He was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2009.


Kyle Hendricks is a standout pitcher who has achieved a high level of success in his career. His exceptional command and precise control, ability to pitch to contact, intelligence and mental toughness all contribute to his ability to consistently perform at a high level.

Hendricks is a reliable and effective pitcher who is able to outsmart and outwork his opponents, using his knowledge, dedication, and mental toughness to gain an edge.

His success on the mound is a testament to his skill, hard work, and dedication to the game of baseball. As Hendricks continues his career, it will be exciting to see how he continues to develop and evolve as a pitcher.

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