The Chicago Cubs got a good big league debut outing from rookie right-hander Dallas Beeler this past weekend. Another young starter at Triple-A Iowa who should see the majors at some point this year is right-hander Kyle Hendricks. He logged a fine outing yesterday for the I-Cubs, throwing six innings for a victory against the Omaha Stormchasers in Des Moines, giving up eight hits and three runs but walking nobody and fanning seven.
On the season, Hendricks is 10-5, 3.58 ERA in 16 starts, 3.12 FIP, with a 93.23 K/BB ratio in 101 innings, 95 hits allowed and a 1.81 GO/AO. Adding in what he did last year in six late-season starts for Iowa, he is now 13-6 in 22 starts in the PCL, with a 3.26 ERA, 3.25 FIP, a 120/31 K/ BB in 141 innings, with 130 hits allowed. That's quite good given the environment in the Pacific Coast League, and he doesn't have much left to prove at that level.
An eighth round pick in 2011 by the Texas Rangers out of Dartmouth, he was acquired by the Cubs in the 2012 Ryan Dempster deal. He's been very effective at every level of the minors, but hasn't ranked particularly highly on prospect lists. That's due to lack of plus velocity: his fastball tops out at 92 MPH and is usually in the 86-88 range. It "plays" faster than the radar, however, because it has some sink and he can locate it. Although his curveball and slider are just adequate on their own terms according to scouts, his changeup is very effective. His command is excellent and his pitching instincts draw praise.
Hendricks doesn't have a huge margin for error and ultimately may be just a fifth starter or long reliever, but I would argue that any pitcher who keeps his head above water in the PCL and throws strikes deserves a legitimate major league trial.
UPDATE: A reader points me to this recent article by John Arguello, which says that Hendricks has been up to 95 in recent starts according to Iowa manager Marty Pevey. That doesn't accord with the information I had, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. I'm going to dig deeper on that one. It should be noted that Hendricks did hit 94-95 MPH at times when he was in college, so it would not be unprecedented for him to throw that hard. If he sustains that kind of increased velocity, his prospect status will rise.
There's a good look at Hendrick's delivery here starting at 1:33.