Chicago Cubs: Top 5 team MVP candidates

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Chicago Cubs Kyle Hendricks
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No. 2: Kyle Hendricks

Although he’s battled through inconsistency, Kyle Hendricks has been the Cubs’ best starting pitcher in 2018.

Hendricks has set the tone for the pitching staff by tallying 191 innings on the rubber with a 3.49 ERA and 3.77 FIP. Most importantly, he has been at his best when it’s mattered the most.

Since the All-Star Break, Hendricks has been great, pitching to a tune of a 2.90 ERA; the Cubs have won 10 of his 13 second-half starts. It seems that the later it gets into the season, the better Hendricks has pitched.

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In September alone, Hendricks has been phenomenal. His 32.1 innings pitched is the second most in all of baseball and his 1.67 ERA is good for 10th over that stretch. As the Cubs make a push for the playoffs, Hendricks’ ability to pitch late into games has given the Cubs’ bullpen valuable days off.

Over his 31 starts, Hendricks has accumulated 3.1 WAR (Fangraphs formula), more than twice the amount of the next best pitcher on the Cubs and 21st best among all qualified pitchers. He also leads the team in innings pitched, FIP, WHIP, K-BB%, and hard-hit rate allowed.

Hendricks won’t be in the conversation for the NL Cy Young as he was in the 2016 season, but his performance on the mound has made him the Cubs’ Cy Young in the club’s 2018 campaign.