Texas Rangers select pitcher Kyle Hendricks ’12 in MLB draft
By Kelly Hanen, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 8, 2011
In early June, Dartmouth pitcher Kyle Hendricks ’12 was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the eighth round as the 264th player selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 7. The right-hander was the only player from the Ivy League selected in the first 10 rounds of this year’s draft.
Hendricks was drafted once before when he was chosen in the 39th round by the Los Angeles Angels out of high school in 2008. He declined the selection to pitch for the Big Green, instead.
I was definitely really excited to be drafted again, and I knew that this time around, there was a good chance that I would sign and go play professionally, Hendricks said.
“I was just waiting to hear my name get called. Then we just had to decide on the terms and sign,” Hendricks said. “After that I was running around everywhere trying to figure everything out. It’s been really fun, though, getting to know all the guys and getting back to work.”
Since signing a professional contract shortly after the draft, Hendricks moved to Washington state, where he plays for the Spokane Indians, a minor league affiliate of the Rangers. Hendricks is already back at work to fine-tune his mechanics and work on a new pitch, he said.
“Right now, I’m focusing on getting better every day,” Hendricks said. “I’m working with a pitching coach on developing my skills and changing my mechanics. I’m in the process of developing a slider as an out-pitch.”
Coaches are monitoring his progress and limiting playing time to avoid wearing out Hendricks’ arm, he said.
“The coaches are easing me back into the rotation,” Hendricks said. “They’re being careful to watch my innings because I did throw so much in college. At this point, I’m throwing every four or five days out of the bullpen.”
While Hendricks is currently playing in a 2.5 month summer season for rookies, the Rangers have the ability to send him to “instructionals” in Arizona for three weeks after the season is over. If he does not go to Arizona, Hendricks will continue with off-season training.
During his last season with Dartmouth, Hendricks received first-team All-Ivy Honors. He was third in the Ivy League with a 2.47 ERA and four complete games, and he went 5-3 in 62.0 innings.
Hendricks won five games to tie the league lead and had 70 strikeouts during the season, the second highest number in the conference. He walked only 11 batters all season and posted a personal high of 15 strikeouts — the most by a Dartmouth pitcher in 39 years — in a game against the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 18.
Hendricks walks away from the Big Green with a winning record of 15-12, 174 strikeouts, and a 4.87 ERA. He said his time at Dartmouth and his experiences with the Big Green were rewarding and difficult to leave behind.
“My three years at Dartmouth were awesome,” Hendricks said. “It was a tough decision whether to go back and try to win another Ivy League championship or to start my professional career. I talked to my parents and Coach [Bob] Whelan and we all came to the conclusion that it was the best decision for me to start playing now.”
Hendricks leaves Dartmouth as a junior and still needs two terms to graduate. He said he negotiated his contract to allow for completion of his degree.
“The Rangers are going to pay for my senior year of school,” Hendricks said. “I have 10 years to finish the two quarters. If they do not want me to go to instructionals, I will attend school during Fall term. If I do go, I’ll have to finish sometime down the road.”
While Hendricks is excited and looks forward to his future, he admits that it will be hard to move on from the past.
“I’m hoping to get called up and move through the system quickly,” Hendricks said. “Long term, I hope to be playing in the big league. It’s still going to be hard leaving my friends. The guys on the [Dartmouth] team are my best friends and not having another year with them will be tough. We’re still going to keep in touch and try to continue the bond we have.”