The Cubs Twitter today announced the 2018 Pitching Rotation for Joe Maddon, and there was a bit of a surprise in there. Kyle Hendricks is No. 2 in the rotation, rather than Yu Darvish, and rightfully so. The full rotation reads:
- Jon Lester
- Kyle Hendricks
- Yu Darvish
- Jose Quintana
- Tyler Chatwood
So, the question is why Kyle Hendricks is ahead of recently signed Cy Young-caliber pitcher Yu Darvish? That’s because “The Professor” had a dominant 2017 and especially a good postseason, and Joe Maddon likes the potential here as a number two. As you recall from the NLDS, Hendricks pitched the Game One against Stephen Strasburg and eventually outlasted Strasburg and won the battle. Additionally, Kyle went 7-5 with a 3.03 ERA and was probably the best option last season.
Let’s rewind to the start of the 2016 season. Hendricks was not projected to be a solid pitcher and was in the back end of the rotation. Well, that changed quickly as Hendricks became Cy Young status quickly. He, of course, was the starter in the iconic World Series Game Seven and absolutely dominated the Indians. Hendricks would finish that season 16-8 with an ERA of just 2.13.
It’s no surprise that Hendricks will be rounding out the rotation at number two, because of his dominance on the mound and exceptional postseason pitching.