At 10U Futures, a Former Major Leaguer is Embracing a New Challenge

After a 10-year MLB career on the mound, Kyle Kendrick is coaching both his son and the next generation

As someone who pitched in the Major Leagues from 2007 to 2017, racking up 81 wins and striking out 705 batters in his professional career, Kyle Kendrick is no stranger to the game of baseball. This year at the 10U Futures Invitational, he’s using everything he learned in his career to take on a very different challenge compared to attempting to strike out opposing batters: helping coach his son’s team in search of this year’s title.

Kyle Jr. is a starter on Florida Burn Platinum, one of 16 teams that has made the trip to Cary, N.C. from across the country to compete for the 2024 10U Futures title. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, the Hendricks family have come a long way.

“It’s awesome for our kids to come here, see different competition and travel this way. It’s very awesome for them, but also as coaches and parents fun for us too; we enjoy it maybe more than the kids do. But it’s a great opportunity. It’s an honor for them to come and play in this type of atmosphere,” Kendrick said following Florida Burn’s opener on Thursday morning.

Playing high level teams such as New Level Nationals, based in Kendrick’s home state of Washington, is no small feat to the young players who step onto the field in Cary each summer at 10U Futures. Asked how the team handles what he described as unbelievable competition, Kendrick outlined what he and the rest of the Florida Burn coaching staff told their players on Wednesday night.

“We had a players, coaches meeting last night and just talked about trust. We have a really good team in our area, we’re kind of one of the better teams, and just take that into the tournament, trust yourself.”

Of course, trusting in yourself and your abilities is just one of several things that Kendrick and his fellow Burn coaches try to instill in their players as they continue to grow.

“I mean, it's baseball, right? So, you know, enjoy the game, be aggressive, have fun. And we are just trying to build that into our kids,” he said.

When asked about his transition from playing into coaching, especially at this level, Kendrick expressed his gratitude to several other coaches he’s had the chance to be around during his time with the Burn.

Some of the figures Kendrick thanked included Michael Gayden, Adam Morovic, and Greg Gayden, all for helping with the transition into teaching the next generation the sport that he’s played for most of his life. Speaking about the transition from starting on the mound in the majors to being in the dugout as a pitching coach for 10-year olds, Kendrick smiled and admitted that it still gives him some mixed emotions.

“It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot more nerve-wracking as a parent and a coach than a player. I tell you that, but I enjoy it,” Kendrick said.“I try to pass on what I learned. I had some awesome teammates in Philadelphia, and I try to pass it on to these kids all of the stuff I learned.”

But while watching Kyle Jr. and the Burn play might still be a little nerve-wracking, Kendrick lit up when talking about being able to not just coach his son, but also see him follow in his baseball footsteps.

“It's awesome. It's a lot of fun. You know, he loves the game, which is obviously cool for me. He was in the clubhouse as a young kid, being around the big leaguers. So he's been around it.”

Now, all these years later at the 2024 10U Futures Invitational, Kyle Kendrick and Kyle Kendrick Jr. are still sharing a clubhouse. Only now, as Florida Burn Platinum look to put on a show in Cary, the roles are a little different than they used to be for father and son.