Deep Sleeper: SP Kyle Hendricks

Mar 9, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) throws in the second inning against the San Diego Padres during a spring training baseball game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Tell me if you’ve heard this before, “Pitching is very deep.” No? Well, it is. In a standard 10-team league, there are plenty of good pitchers still available on the waiver wire. If you are looking for a player to sneak by the other owners, look no further than Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks. As an SP5, he can be a nice sleeper pick in 2015. 

Hendricks has dominated at every minor-league level. In four seasons, he finished with a 2.69 ERA, 1.072 WHIP, 386 strikeouts and a 31-19 record. He then made his MLB debut in July and did pretty well there, too.

He made 13 starts, finishing 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA, 1.083 WHIP and 47 strikeouts. While he was able to keep the walks down, 1.7 BB/9, his strikeout totals could use some work. Hendricks posted a mediocre 5.3 K/9.

Things didn’t look promising for Hendricks this winter as the Cubs brought in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel. Would Hendricks go back to the minors or would the Cubs trade him? Neither. The team is keeping him in the rotation as the No. 4 starter. Despite playing in the dangerous NL Central, Hendricks could open up some eyes.

This spring, he made two starts, going 1-0, with a 3.65 ERA (he gave up five runs in his final appearance) and 0.892 WHIP. At 25 years old, Hendricks has a bright future ahead of him. If he can work on the strikeouts — he had 97 in 102 2/3 innings in Triple-A last season — and pitch location, the Cubs could have another young pitching star on their hands. 

Hendricks is a good addition if you play in a league that using quality starts over wins, because let’s face it, it’s the Cubs. He had eight quality starts last season, at least six innings with three or less earned runs. Going six or seven innings with two earned runs is what Hendricks will be best at in 2015.

He is currently owned in just 5.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues. So, if you need some pitching depth, Hendricks is widely available. He is one of my sleeper picks to be a top-40 pitcher by the end of the season.