The Chicago White Sox had a lot of great pitchers in 2021. It was one of their true pillars as a team during their first-place season. One of their most important pitchers was closer Liam Hendriks. You could argue that he was the best closer in Major League Baseball during the season. Everything about this guy was so perfect for the White Sox as they took another big step as a team.
He led the American League with 38 saves on the season. He had an ERA of 2.54 and a WHIP of 0.732. In 71.0 innings pitched, he had a very good 113 strikeouts. The most impressive stat of them all is the fact that he had seven walks. With all of those strikeouts and only seven walks, it was clearly a season in which he had tremendous control.
Hendriks also has an incredibly fun attitude. He is a fireball on the mound. When he records a big strikeout he goes absolutely crazy. He brings a feeling to the White Sox that when he comes in, the game is over. He is obsessed with winning and it shows every single time he takes the ball.
When we say that Hendriks is the perfect White Sox pitcher, that doesn’t mean he is perfect. He blew six saves this season despite leading the entire league in saves. However, most of them came in the first half as he really dialed it in as the season went along.
The Chicago White Sox needs Liam Hendriks at his best no matter what.
This was his first year with the White Sox after really rising to the top of the closer ranked with the Oakland A’s. He was a big reason that the A’s eliminated the White Sox from the 2020 playoffs. He earned himself a big contract and has lived up to it. The early season issues can be just him getting used to a new team.
Going into 2022, the White Sox need to get their bullpen going again. They were good in 2021 but we all know they can be better. It felt like they slightly underperformed as a whole so it would be nice to see it really come together next year.
Hendriks has the chance to become one of the great players in White Sox history. If he can help them advance in the playoffs and eventually win the World Series, it would go a long way. We can all picture him throwing that last pitch of the season with his signature celebration. He should be proud of this season and where his career is headed.