Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks debuts on the Power Rankings

Hendricks Makes Cubs Trade-Chip Power Rankings Debut at No. 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Just in time for July and the busiest time of the contender shopping season, the Cubs trio of back-end veteran relievers put together the kind of group presentation for prospective buyers over the past month that anyone would envy. seller.

Against this year’s St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston and Yankees playoffs — all since early June — closer David Robertson and setup veterans Mychal Givens and Chris Martin have combined for a 0.75 ERA in 20 appearances.

In 24 combined innings in that period, only Givens has conceded an earned run, which was two on June 2 – their first appearance in the period.

Along the way, Martin defeated defending champion Braves (his former team) and grabbed hold of the Cardinals and Red Sox; and Robertson defeated the Cardinals in St. Louis, again earning his eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th saves against the Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox and Red Sox.

Guess those teams didn’t notice.

Relief pitching could be at the top of Boston’s wish list by the deadline. The Yankees will almost certainly be in the market (and may remember each of the trio’s scoreless innings in the Bronx in the only game of that series that wasn’t a Yankees outburst).

It may not be the Big Three of Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera who managed to score Cubs reliever Codi Heuer, second baseman Nick Madrigal and three prospects on the deadline last year.

But stay tuned for what could be an intriguing July for this year’s version of the Cubs’ Big Three bullpen pieces.

1. Kyle Hendricks (last week: NR) — Back-to-back “vintage Kyle” kicks off since a prescribed rest for shoulder fatigue suddenly makes the Cubs’ Opening Day starter look like a potentially high-quality trading ship in a market without a slam-dunk October monster.

It is a “two-edged sword,” he said he was good enough to help the team at a time when it’s also boosting its trade value as he toils for a particular seller. Hendricks doesn’t want to go anywhere, he said. But he braces himself for the possibility.

“I don’t know if you could be prepared for it,” said the man who defeated Clayton Kershaw for the pennant in 2016 and kicked off the historic Game 7 World Series win. “But everything that happened last year really opened our eyes. We saw what could happen.”

RELATED: Hendricks: Trade of Cubs would be a ‘shock’

2. Willson Contraras (previous week: 3) – The most likely core player to be moved on the deadline will also move up one spot the week he is expected to become NL’s starting catcher for the third time in four All-Star games.

If he and Hendricks are both traded, only one player would leave the 2016 championship roster, Jason Heyward, raising the question of whether the much-maligned rightfielder played his last game as a cub (he’s on the IL with a knee injury). of unknown severity).

3. David Robertson (last week: 1) — Robertson drops from first place due to a small mistake; it’s primarily a function of Hendricks’ Power Rankings first-place shaking debut. In fact, another strong week not only helped maintain a very large trade value, but also kept him in the game for a shot at a second All-Star bid this weekend.

4. Ian Happ (previous week: 2) — Happ drops out of the top three for the first time this season despite another big week (.943 OPS against the Reds and Red Sox). Could it be that the story shifts from its trading value (it’s big) to its long-term value for the Cubs and a possible expansion?

Could be. But don’t sleep on the possible first All-Star on the deadline. That extra year of club control next year still makes him a strong number four this week.

5. (tie) Chris Martin and Mychal Givens (last week: 4 and NR respectively) – The Power Rankings season’s first tie says as much about the aforementioned group success of the back-end bullpen boys against potential buyers as it does about a trading market about to pick up significantly in the coming weeks, if not days.

Lost: David Bote.

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