On Wednesday, it was revealed that Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks won his second straight Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year award. Hendriks locked up the award after having a dominant September, holding opponents scoreless for the entire month.
He won the award the first time during the shortened 2020 season with the Oakland Athletics. The White Sox brought in Hendriks on a three-year, $54 million deal after watching him dominate them in the 2020 Wild Card round. The organization expected to get the best reliever in the American League and he was worthy of every penny in 2021.
Hendriks was nothing short of dominant in his first season on the Southside. He finished the year with an AL-leading 38 saves, an 8-3 record, 2.54 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and totaled 113 strikeouts in 71 innings. He also limited opposing batters to a .174 batting average in 2021.
He led all major league relievers in saves, WHIP, and strikeout to walk ratio in 2021. Hendriks’ 16.1 strikeout ratio set a major-league record. He totaled a 2.7 WAR during the 2021 season which is a very nice total for someone who pitches an inning every time he’s out there.
Liam Hendriks was everything the Chicago White Sox needed in 2021 and more.
Hendriks was named to be an American League All-Star and earned the save in the All-Star game in Denver, slamming the door shut on the National League All-Stars. It was amazing to see such a dominant White Sox closer on the biggest stage.
At the trade deadline, the White Sox attempted to bolster their bullpen with the addition of potential Hall of Fame closer Craig Kimbrel and Hendriks was willing to potentially lose his closing role in hopes of pursuing a World Series championship.
Smartly, Hendriks remained the closer and the White Sox relied on him every chance they could in the ninth inning. As Kimbrel may potentially end up on the trading block, Hendriks will remain the White Sox go-to man in the ninth for at least the next two seasons.
As the White Sox look to strengthen their team this offseason, the organization will look for Hendriks to repeat his 2021 success as the team sets their sights on competing for a World Series in 2022. Expect more of the fun to continue.