Kyle Hendricks = Pitcher of the Year

Kyle Hendricks Has Dominated the Carolina League

Kyle Hendricks should be the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year.  I know it’s only July, but let’s just give the guy the benefit of the doubt and say he won’t completely fall apart the rest of the way.  And hey, even if he gets promoted in the near future there is precedent for a guy like him winning the honor.  Robbie Ross took home Pitcher of the Year last season despite being promoted July 29th.

Yes, Hendricks is only 3-7.  But as we learned from King Felix in 2010, won-loss record really doesn’t mean a whole lot in award stature.  There’s that and Hendricks was named a CL all-star despite his unfortunate record, so it’s already proven that people can look past that mark.

So what exactly is there when you look beyond the record?  There’s a bunch of numbers that indicate arguably one of the best and most consistent pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball.

Here’s the easy stuff.  Hendricks is the active leader (and third overall behind promoted Cody Buckel and Sugar Ray Marimon) in the Carolina League with a 2.53 ERA.  Hendricks is fourth in the CL with 80 strikeouts, ranking third among active pitchers.  He has two complete games, including the Pelicans’ first nine-inning CG since James Parr in 2007.  Hendricks will surpass Gus Schlosser for the league’s lead in innings pitched after his first two outs tonight.  He also leads the league in fewest walks per nine innings (0.81) and is the active leader (2nd overall to Buckel) in fewest baserunners per nine at 8.92.

Those numbers alone should be good enough to garner Hendricks the honor.  But he might need more, considering he’ll need to cut through the hype of stars like Dylan Bundy and Yordano Ventura, both of whom hit 100 MPH on the gun.  Salem’s Matt Barnes is also in that mix along with teammate Brandon Workman.  JR Graham has made his case too this season with a 2.60 ERA.

So what can set Hendricks apart?  How about consistency?  Stop for a second and try to guess the last time Hendricks allowed more than four earned runs.  Don’t scroll down yet…actually take a guess.  Okay, now keep reading.

The last time Hendricks allowed more than four earned runs he was a college sophomore at Dartmouth.  He got hit hard, allowing 11 runs without getting out of the fourth inning against Miami in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.  Hendricks went all of his junior year without giving up more than four earned runs.  Hendricks went all of his first pro season at Spokane and Frisco without giving up four earned runs.  He’s gone all of this season without slipping for more than four earned runs.

Now that’s consistency.  In fact, Hendricks is fourth in all of Minor League Baseball, the whole thing – every team nationwide, in quality starts.  The righty has fired off 12 in his 15 starts.  Only Rudy Owens (AAA Indianapolis), Richard Castillo (AA Springfield) and Edwar Cabrera (AA Tulsa) have more quality starts this year.  Owens has 14 while the other two have fired 13.

Hendricks’ numbers continue to pop up among the Minor League leaders.  After his last start five days ago, Hendricks was the MiLB leader in innings pitched at 99.2.  He has tossed six innings 13 times, seven innings seven times and eight innings four times.

Walks are something pitcher’s hate.  Hendricks then is a pitcher’s best friend.  The Dartmouth product leads the minors with 0.81 walks per nine innings.  He’s tied with New Britain’s (AA Twins) Andrew Albers and at one point went five straight starts without walking anybody.  By the way, six of his nine walks came in two of his 15 starts.

By the way, Hendricks is nicknamed by his teammates as ‘The Dolphin’ (all the Pelicans gave each other animal nicknames).  Is there any better animal than that?

So yeah, assuming he can keep this up, Kyle Hendricks has as good a case as anybody as the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year.  It’s an exclusive club for Myrtle Beach, with Ross and Trey Hodges to only to win the honor.  Both went on to pitch in the Major Leagues.