The Chicago White Sox have quite the bullpen going into the 2021 season.
By now, everyone knows that the Chicago White Sox is going to be a good baseball team in 2021. There are people who are just haters and pretend like they aren’t a problem but anyone with an unbiased grasp of the game can see that big things are coming on the southside of town. MLB Network continues to give them props for what they’ve done and this time it came in the form of a top-ten relievers list. According to them, the White Sox have two of the ten best relief pitchers in the world.
They ranked newly-signed White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks as the number one guy. According to them, he is the best relief pitcher going in the game right now. When you look at the impact he has had on his team over the past two years, it is hard to argue it. In 2020, closing games for the Oakland Athletics, he had a 1.78 ERA, 0.671 ERA, and 37 strikeouts over 25.1 innings.
All of those great statistics earned him a ninth-place finish for the American League Cy Young Award. That’s right, a closer had a top ten finish for being named the best pitcher in the AL. His 1.4 WAR in 60 games is surely something to be excited about as he hopes to bring the same level of production to the White Sox.
To the pleasure of many, Hendriks isn’t the only White Sox player on the list. Aaron Bummer came in at number eight. Not many people outside of the White Sox organization or fandom know who he is but they are going to learn soon. He had a bit of an injury in 2020 but he still managed to have nine games played (9.1 innings) out of 60. In those innings, his stats didn’t disappoint. He had a 0.96 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, and 14 strikeouts.
If Aaron Bummer was healthy all year and had similar numbers, there is no doubt he would have had a top-ten Cy Young finish as well. There is nowhere for Liam Hendriks to climb on the list because he is already the top dog but there is room for Bummer to climb. If he has a good 2021, this should be an elite duo in the 8th and 9th innings for the White Sox.
They aren’t the only great pitchers in the bullpen right now either. Guys like Codi Heuer, Matt Foster, Garrett Crochet, and Evan Marshall are all hoping to join Bummer and Hendriks to form one of the best bullpens this team has ever had. A good unit, as you saw in the playoffs over the past few years, is pivotal to winning a World Series. A couple of top-ten relievers are in there to lead the way. The starting rotation and starting lineup need to hold up their end of the bargain. If they do, this team will be so good.