Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Chicago White Sox signing their closer Liam Hendriks. He had pitched very well during his time as the closer for the Oakland A’s and that earned him a lucrative contract with the White Sox. They were one of many teams after him and they landed him.
So far it has been one of the best decisions made by Rick Hahn and his staff during their tenure. He is one of the best closers in Major League Baseball. Having him as the guy who comes in the ninth inning to close out a game would make any team in the league fully confident.
The White Sox had a very dominant staff in 2021. It included the awesome rotation, an outstanding middle relief group, and Hendriks to closeout games. It led to them winning the division with a 93-69 record. It was the first time in franchise history that the White Sox made the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
Without Hendriks, there would have been many games (especially early on) that resulted in wins that would have been losses. To be an elite baseball team, you need a guy who can come in during the highest of pressure situations and lock it down. Hendriks is able to do that.
Liam Hendriks has been everything that the Chicago White Sox needs and more.
In 2021, as mentioned before, Hendriks was amazing in his first year. He won the Reliever of the Year award due to his monster season. He had an ERA of 2.54 with 113 strikeouts and seven walks.
That strikeout to walk ratio is honestly absurd. His WHIP is very unsurprising at 0.732. All of these masterful statistics led to his WAR of 2.6. Calling him the best closer in the American League is far from a stretch. There are many great pitchers that could fit that distinction but Hendriks is right there at the top.
In addition to his incredible pitching, his attitude is infectious. Nobody loves doing their job and doing it well more than Liam Hendriks. Whenever he records a big strikeout, he reacts as he has never recorded a strikeout before. On the flip side, you can hear some bad words when he misses a pitch.
Off the field, he comes off as the nicest person of all time. The White Sox are extremely smart for going after him and extremely lucky now to have him. He changes the dynamic of the bullpen and makes them that much more dangerous of a team. 2022 is going to be a lot of fun with this guy.