One on one with Kyle Hendricks
Minor League Baseball is all about developing talent. Finding those diamonds in the rough and making them shine every minute spent at Four Winds Field in South Bend could eventually lead to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
While out in Arizona for Cubs spring training, I spoke one on one with Chicago Pitcher Kyle Hendricks. He told me how his work in the farm system took him on a journey from the minors to starting pitcher of game 7 of the World Series.
"It's like you're so focused on making it to the big leagues and try to contribute and then all of a sudden, you blink your eyes and you've won a World Series," Hendricks said.
Before Hendricks ever took the mound in Cleveland on November 2nd, 2016 with a World Series championship hanging in the balance--he had to work his way up the minor leagues.
"The lower levels that's where all the development happens. I guess you reap the benefits once you get to the big leagues but all the work I put in really started all the way back there. By the time I came over to the Cubs, I played in Daytona in high A and then double-A, triple-A. The development you learn, just learning to get into the lifestyle almost, how to deal with the travel and then getting into your routine. You have to experiment with a lot of things when you're down there. Learning yourself, learning from all the great pitching coaches you have, it just gets you set up by the time you get to the big leagues, if you're lucky enough, then you can just take advantage of the opportunity," Hendricks said.
Hendricks was named Cubs Minor League Player of the Year in 2013.
Hendricks finished the 2016 regular season with the lowest earned run average in the majors-- the first time a Cub has done that since 1938.
"You never know what's going to come in the future. You never know what to expect and that's why you have to put yourself in the best position you can every single day. You know we come in every single day. You have to get your work in. Hard work, I think, is going to set you up for everything you need. So, none of it was expected, obviously, but all for the best. You just have to keep moving and you know, hopefully there's more unexpected to come," Hendricks said.
After the incredible season Hendricks had last year, he is off to a bit of a rough start so far this season. In the 3 games he's pitched, he has a 1-and-1 record and a 6.19 era.