Last year’s NL Cy Young winner, Kyle Hendricks, surprised people. He showed signs of being good, but his stuff was not overpowering to the point where you thought he was going to be Cy Young material. Despite this, he put a great season together with a low two ERA and below one WHIP. It really gets you thinking as we approach 2017, who could be this year’s Kyle Hendricks?
When you look at Hendricks pitching profile, he nothing stands out as a Cy Young player. Most obvious thing is him never topping 8.35 K/9 in the majors. What he is good at is pitching to contact and not allowing a lot of walks.
Pitching to contact sound like a bad thing, but Hendricks perfected it. There are two reasons he does not get hurt by doing this.
- He allows more poor contact than good, which is seen by his low hard hit rate.
- He has a stellar defense behind him.
When looking at pitchers who could be breakouts this season like Hendricks last year I have identified a few.
If you missed it check out who I believe this year’s Jonathan Villar will be.
This Year’s Kyle Hendricks
Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers
The place to start with Davies is his great command. His K/BB and BB/9 ratios were almost identical to Hendricks last season.
Where Davies fell short was wins, ERA and WHIP. Some of this is due to being in more of a hitters ballpark and not having a great defense behind him like Hendricks.
Honestly though, all it takes is a bit of luck to lower his BABIP and Davies could easily match the numbers Hendricks did last year.
For the price you have to pay for Davies this year, ADP of 319, he is well worth the risk.
Joe Ross, Washington Nationals
Ross could honestly be better than Hendricks. He just needs to figure out how to get lefties out consistently. Trust me on this go look at his splits, they are pretty bad.
That being said, Ross is still a legit Hendricks comp. Like Davies, Ross’s ratios are very good. However, he too falls short in the ERA and WHIP, especially WHIP. This is thanks to an above average BABIP.
He does have a good team behind him, so wins should not be a problem. Although, if he wants to truly take that next step he need to get lefties out and lower his WHIP.
Tyler Anderson, Colorado Rockies
I know, I know. A Colorado pitcher. Gross.
I said the same thing and ultimately ignored him when I was looking at potential candidates for this list. But I need to give Tyler Thompson credit for pointing him out to me.
Thanks to playing in Colorado, Anderson may never have an ERA as low as Hendricks did last season. However, he does induce a lot of ground-balls, which will help keep his ERA from inflating in Colorado like most pitchers see happen. You can see him already doing this by allowing less than a home run per nine in home games.
Like the rest of the pitchers on this list, Anderson’s ratios are similar to Hendricks. He too needs to lower his BABIP to reach the WHIP and ERA Hendricks did in 2016.
Anderson is absolutely free in drafts, with an ADP of 407. You can likely let him go undrafted, but make sure you keep a close eye on him.
At the end of the day to get the perfect combination of these ratios and low BABIP that Hendricks did, resulting in his ERA and WHIP, is unlikely. There are even many who think Hendricks won’t be able to repeat it. I’ll tell you a secret, I’m one of them. But if anybody can do it, the three mentioned above have as good of a chance as any.
The real decision comes during drafts. Do you want to draft Hendricks at his ADP, 67, or these guys at their ADP? If you draft Hendricks, you are betting on a near repeat. My guess is he regresses, while these guys progress a little. This makes me want to not draft Hendricks at his price and take a chance on one of these three above.
Be sure to check out our Rankings, Position Preview and much more in the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.