Liam Hendriks
Hendriks with the White Sox in 2023
Boston Red Sox – No. 31
Pitcher
Born: (1989-02-10) 10 February 1989 (age 35)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
6 September 2011, for the Minnesota Twins
MLB statistics
(through 2023 season)
Win–loss record33–34
Earned run average3.82
Strikeouts727
Saves116
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Liam Johnson Hendriks (born 10 February 1989) is an Australian professional baseball closing pitcher for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played in MLB for the Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox. He has been an All-Star three times (2019, 2021 and 2022) and was the American League's Reliever of the Year in 2020 and 2021. His most recent accomplishment is winning the AL MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award for the 2023 season.

Background

Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Hendriks began playing tee-ball when he was five (rather than the traditional Australian summer game of cricket), before transitioning to baseball at the age of ten. He also played Australian rules football.[1][2] Hendriks continued playing both baseball and football through high school at Sacred Heart College, Sorrento.

Hendriks's paternal grandparents emigrated to Australia from the Netherlands. His father, Geoff Hendriks, played over 150 games of senior football for the West Perth Football Club in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). Under the father–son rule used by the Australian Football League (AFL) at the time, Liam was eligible to be drafted by the West Coast Eagles had he decided to pursue a career in football. However, he decided to pursue baseball and was signed by the Minnesota Twins on his eighteenth birthday.

In 2017 and 2019, Hendriks was the Oakland Athletics' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award after his work with Big League Impact and Striking Out Poverty in their efforts to end poverty in the Dominican Republic.[3]

Hendriks was the Chicago White Sox Roberto Clemente nominee in 2021, 2022, and 2023, making him a five-time nominee.[4]

Professional career

Minnesota Twins

Hendriks debuted in the Twins organization in 2007 pitching for the Gulf Coast League Twins. He led the team in strikeouts with 52. He was also named as a Twins Top 50 prospect.[5] He pitched for the Perth Heat in the 2008 Claxton Shield and went 3–0 with a 1.90 earned run average (ERA) and 25 strikeouts, a competition high. Hendriks was then added to the Australian national team for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament pitching five innings of work while only allowing one unearned run alongside two hits and a walk while striking out six. Hendriks underwent back surgery that prevented him from playing in the minors in the 2008 season, but made the 2009 World Baseball Classic roster, the youngest Australian player in the Classic.[citation needed]

In 2009, Hendriks spent the season with the Class-A Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League and the Rookie-Level Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League. He went a combined 5–5 with a 3.55 ERA in 14 games, all starts. Hendriks was selected for the 2010 All-Star Futures Game, but developed appendicitis and was forced to miss the game.[6] Hendriks earned a Futures Game invitation in 2010.[7] On 5 September 2011, Hendriks was called up to the Minnesota Twins from Triple-A Rochester. He went on to finish the season with an 0–2 record. At the end of the 2011 season he was named the Minnesota Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.[8] He was an All-Star for the New Britain Rock Cats in 2011, and named an organizational All-Star for Minnesota at the end of the season. He also earned his second invitation to the Futures Game.[7]

Hendriks with the Twins in 2012.

After a successful spring training (3–1, 2.84 ERA, 8 games/4 starts), Hendriks was named as one of the Twins' starting pitchers for 2012.[9] On 19 September 2012, Hendriks earned his first Major League victory in a 6–4 win against the Cleveland Indians. On 5 December 2013, the Twins designated Hendriks for assignment, after the signing of pitcher Phil Hughes.[10]

Toronto Blue Jays

On 13 December 2013, Hendriks was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs.[11] Ten days later, he was claimed off waivers again, this time by the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles designated him for assignment on 19 February 2014 to make room for Ubaldo Jiménez on the active roster.[12] The Toronto Blue Jays claimed Hendriks off waivers on 21 February 2014.[13] On 10 March 2014, he was optioned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Hendriks compiled a 5–0 record with an ERA of 1.46 through nine games (seven starts) with the Bisons, before being called up to the Majors on 23 May 2014.[14] He made his Blue Jays debut that day, picking up a 3–2 win over the Oakland Athletics. Hendriks started the game and allowed 3 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks and struck out 3 over 523 innings.[15] After 2 starts for the Blue Jays, Hendriks was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo on 1 June 2014. He posted a 1–0 record with a 2.31 ERA and 8 strikeouts in his 2 starts.[16] Hendriks was called up on 20 June to start against the Cincinnati Reds, and was sent back down to Buffalo the following day after he pitched only 123 innings and surrendered 6 earned runs.[17] Hendriks was named as the starter for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game after posting a 7–1 record with a 2.19 ERA in 16 starts.[7] In being named the starter, he became only the fourth pitcher from the Bisons to start the All-Star Game.[18] Hendriks was named the Top Star of the game.[7]

Kansas City Royals

On 28 July 2014, Hendriks, along with Erik Kratz, was traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Danny Valencia.[19] He was recalled from the Omaha Storm Chasers on 27 August to make a start for the Royals against his former team, the Twins.[20] He was designated for assignment on 24 October when Moises Sierra was claimed on waivers.[21]

Second stint with the Blue Jays

On 30 October 2014, Hendriks was traded back to the Toronto Blue Jays for Santiago Nessy.[22] Hendriks pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2015, and appeared in a career-high 58 games. He would pitch to a 5–0 record, 2.92 ERA, and 71 strikeouts in 6423 innings.[23] In the playoffs, Hendriks broke an 85-year-old record in Game Four of the 2015 American League Championship Series on 21 October 2015. After starter R. A. Dickey gave up five runs, Hendriks entered in as the long reliever and pitched 413 scoreless innings from the second to the sixth and finished with 13 outs from 12 batters faced, breaking the playoff record for more-outs-than-batters-faced performances. Jim Lindsey previously held the mark with eight outs from seven batters faced in 1930, while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.[24] Hendriks was pulled in the seventh inning in what was a criticized move and relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Ryan Tepera surrendered seven runs, and with the bullpen depleted at that point, position player Cliff Pennington pitched the final outs as the Blue Jays lost 14-2. For his record-breaking performance in the ALCS, Hendriks was named the Male Player of the Year by Baseball Australia,[25] and a finalist for the Western Australian Sports Star of the Year.[26]

Oakland Athletics

Hendriks in 2016

On 20 November 2015, the Blue Jays traded Hendriks to the Oakland Athletics for Jesse Chavez.[27] Hendriks finished the 2016 season with a 3.76 ERA and 0–4 record, pitching 64+23 innings in 53 appearances.[28] In 2017, he pitched 64 innings in 70 appearances with a 4–2 record and 4.22 ERA.[28]

Hendriks was designated for assignment on 25 June 2018, and sent outright to Triple-A Nashville.[28] He was called up to the major league club on 1 September 2018.[29] During the regular season, Hendriks appeared in 25 games with Oakland, pitching 24 innings with a 0–1 record and 4.13 ERA.[28] The Athletics used Hendriks as their opener in the 2018 American League Wild Card Game,[30] becoming the first Australian born player ever to start an MLB postseason game.

In 2019, Hendriks took over as the Athletics' closer after an injury to Blake Treinen and made his first career All-Star Game, as a replacement for Charlie Morton.[31] He also earned the inaugural All-MLB Second team honors. Hendriks enjoyed the best season of his career, finishing with a record of 4-4 with an ERA of 1.80 in 75 games, including 2 starts. He also recorded 25 saves while striking out 124 batters in 85 innings. In 2020, Hendriks continued his dominance from 2019, finishing with a 3-1 record with an ERA of 1.78 in 24 games. He recorded 14 saves and 37 strikeouts in 25+13 innings. In the postseason, Hendriks was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA against the Chicago White Sox in the 2020 ALWCS & Houston Astros in the 2020 ALDS.

Chicago White Sox

On 11 January 2021, Hendriks signed a three year, $54 million deal with the Chicago White Sox,[32] with a club option for a fourth year.[33] Hendriks was named the AL Reliever of the Month for May and September; he previously received the award twice while with Oakland.[34]

Hendriks earned the save in the 2021 All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver, won 5-2 by the American League. Entering the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, Hendriks gave up two hits and struck out one, allowing no runs, all while he was being mic'd up by Fox, who were broadcasting the game.

On 12 August 2021, Hendriks was the first winning pitcher in Iowa during the Field of Dreams game despite blowing a save opportunity when the White Sox were up 7-4 in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Hendriks allowed four runs by giving up a pair of two-run home runs to New York Yankees batters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to give the Yankees an 8-7 lead. Fortunately for Hendriks, he was still able to get the win due to Tim Anderson hitting a two-run, walk-off home run to give the White Sox a 9-8 win. Overall in 2021, Hendriks appeared in 69 games while recording an American League-leading 38 saves and having a record of 8-3. He also had an ERA of 2.54 in 71 innings and led all MLB relievers in strikeouts with 113. Hendriks won the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award for the second year in a row, becoming the second White Sox pitcher in history to win Reliever of the Year, joining Bobby Thigpen.

In 2022, Hendriks struggled to start the season. In the first game of the season against the Tigers with the White Sox up 4–3, Hendriks allowed a game-tying homerun to Eric Haase with one out in the bottom of the ninth, giving him a blown save. Hendriks then gave up a walk-off RBI single with two outs to Javier Baez, thus incurring the loss. Hendriks had an ERA of 5.40 in the month of April, but was able to turn it around as the season went on. But on 14 June, Hendriks would be placed on the IL with a right forearm strain.[35] Hendriks came back on the Fourth of July and pitched his first game since 10 June on the same day against the Minnesota Twins, where he pitched in the eighth inning and struck out the side in 14 pitches. Hendriks made his third All-Star game appearance that season. He pitched a third of the eighth inning, inducing Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud to pop out to Seattle Mariners rookie center fielder Julio Rodríguez. Hendriks was also mic'd up by Fox, who were broadcasting the game, and was yelling at Rodríguez to throw the ball back to him, even with Rodríguez pretending to throw the ball to a fan in the stands before throwing the ball back to Hendriks. Overall, Hendriks had a 4–4 record in 58 games with an ERA of 2.81 in 57.2 innings while striking out 85 batters and made 37 saves.

Hendriks started the 2023 season on the Injured List while recovering from cancer treatment. He made his 2023 debut on 29 May 2023, in the eighth inning against the Angels and proceeded to give up two runs. Hendriks managed to make five game appearances before being added to the Injured List for elbow inflammation on 11 June. During that five game stint he compiled a 5.40 ERA, two wins, and one save. On 2 August, it was announced that Hendriks had undergone Tommy John surgery and would miss the remainder of the season.[36] He became a free agent after the season, when the Sox declined their club option.

Boston Red Sox

Prior to the 2024 season, Hendriks set a deadline of February 15 to sign with a team, otherwise he would remain a free agent and wait to sign until he was closer to recovering from surgery.[37] Hendriks was in negotiation with a number of teams during the off season and ultimately agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox. On February 20, 2024, the Boston Red Sox, announced that they had signed Hendriks to a two-year, $10 million contract.[38] He began the season on the 60-day injured list with the Red Sox.[39]

International career

Australian Baseball League

In 2008 Hendriks pitched for Perth Heat in their successful Australian Claxton Shield series and went 3–0 with a 1.90 ERA and 25 strikeouts, a competition high. He was named Rookie of the Year for that season.

Liam returned for the Heat in the inaugural season of the Australian Baseball League. After starting the season posting seven scoreless innings over three outings, Hendriks endured a rough second half, ending up 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA in eight total games. He is yet to return to his native league through the 2020-21 season.

World Baseball Classic

Hendriks underwent back surgery that prevented him from playing in the minors in the 2008 season, but made the 2009 World Baseball Classic roster, the youngest Australian player in the Classic.[citation needed]

On 9 February 2017, he was selected for the 2017 World Baseball Classic,[40] but opted not to participate in the first round, where Australia were eventually knocked out.[41]

Personal life

Hendriks married his wife Kristi in 2013.[42] Through his wife, Hendriks became a Montreal Canadiens fan, saying in an interview with NHL Network in 2020 that he's "watched every game" and has "embraced the Habs lifestyle".[43] He also supports North Melbourne Football Club.[44]

On 8 January 2023, Hendriks announced that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was beginning treatment.[45] On 5 April, Hendriks announced on his Instagram that he has finished chemotherapy.[46] On 20 April 2023, he announced that he is cancer free.[47]

See also

References

  1. ^ Gregorian, Vahe (27 August 2014). "Australian pitcher Liam Hendriks is an unlikely hero in Royals' victory". kansascity.com. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Aussie Liam Hendriks earns praise for latest MLB performance and fans want him to pitch more often". foxsports.com. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Liam Hendriks named A's nominee for the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award". MLB.com.
  4. ^ "Liam Hendriks discusses 3rd straight Roberto Clemente Award nomination".
  5. ^ Weiss, B. (1 November 2007) Twins Top Prospects
  6. ^ Miracles Hendriks Undergoes Appendectomy, will miss Futures Game Naples Daily
  7. ^ a b c d "Liam Hendriks Stats, Highlights, Bio". MiLB.com. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  8. ^ Brian Dozier and Liam Hendriks named 2011 Twins Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year
  9. ^ Hendriks' strong start secures spot in rotation
  10. ^ Twitter / Twins_morsecode: To make room for Phil Hughes, the @Twins have designated Liam Hendriks for release or assignment. Roster at 40.
  11. ^ Twitter / Cubs: #Cubs today claimed RHP Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
  12. ^ Orioles Designate Liam Hendriks For Assignment
  13. ^ Fisher, Matt (21 February 2014). "Liam Hendriks claimed by Blue Jays". fansided.com. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  14. ^ Davidi, Shi (22 May 2014). "Jays to call up Hendriks, will start Friday". Sportsnet. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  15. ^ Chisholm, Gregor (23 May 2014). "Blue Jays keep rolling in Hendriks' debut". MLB.com. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  16. ^ Dakers, Tom (1 June 2014). "Blue Jays Option Liam Hendriks to Buffalo". bluebirdbanter.com. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Blue Jays recall Rasmussen, option Hendriks". Sportsnet. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  18. ^ Sarro, Joe (15 July 2014). "Hendriks prepared for test". MiLB.com. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  19. ^ "Jays send Hendriks, Kratz to Royals for Valencia". ESPN.com. Associated Press. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  20. ^ Kaegel, Dick (27 August 2014). "Royals option Crow; move likely temporary". MLB.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Royals claim Sierra off waivers from White Sox". ESPN.com. Associated Press. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  22. ^ "What's old is new again: Blue Jays acquire Liam Hendriks from Royals for Santiago Nessy". bluebirdbanter.com. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  23. ^ "Liam Hendriks Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Liam Hendriks breaks longstanding MLB playoffs record with impressive pitching performance for Toronto". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  25. ^ "2015 Australian Baseball Gala Diamond Award Winners". baseball.com.au. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  26. ^ Miller, Dale (5 December 2015). "Tough at the top for WA sailing star Wearn". au.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  27. ^ Davidi, Shi (20 November 2015). "Blue Jays reacquire righty Chavez in exchange for Hendriks". Sportsnet. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  28. ^ a b c d "Liam Hendriks Stats, Fantasy & News". Oakland Athletics. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  29. ^ Hall, Alex (1 September 2018). "Oakland A's call up 8 players in flurry of September moves". Athletics Nation. SB Nation. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Yankees Luis Severino to face off against A's 'opener' Liam Hendriks in wild card game". New York Daily News. 2 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Liam Hendriks an All-Star - and now firmly the A's closer". 6 July 2019.
  32. ^ "White Sox agree to terms on four-year contract with All-star closer Liam Hendriks". MLB.com. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  33. ^ Pope, Lamond (15 January 2021). "Liam Hendriks signs a 4-year, $54 million deal with the Chicago White Sox — a team the prized closer says was his preferred destination". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  34. ^ Sepe-Chepuru, Shanthi (2 June 2021). "Hendriks, Tepera named May's top relievers". MLB.com. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  35. ^ "Liam Hendriks injury: White Sox closer hits injured list with right forearm strain". 14 June 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  36. ^ "Hendriks has Tommy John, to miss at least 12 months". mlb.com. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  37. ^ "Liam Hendriks Weighing Multiple Offers". 14 February 2024.
  38. ^ "Hendriks, Red Sox finalize 2-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  39. ^ Campbell, Brendan (26 March 2024). "Fort Report: Red Sox make late addition to bullpen, release former top prospect". soxprospects.com. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  40. ^ "Australia's roster finalised for WBC". Baseball Australia Southern Thunder. 9 February 2017. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  41. ^ Jane Lee (25 February 2017). "Hendriks opts out of Classic to prep for season". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  42. ^ Hendriks, Kristi (29 January 2014). "From Miss to Mrs..." For The Field Apparel. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  43. ^ Cudzinowski, Matt (19 January 2020). "Hendriks: 'I've embraced the Habs lifestyle'". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  44. ^ Bednall, Jai (8 October 2020). "'Abysmal' North Melbourne Kangaroos torched on American television". Fox Sports. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  45. ^ Anderson, R. J. "White Sox closer Liam Hendriks to begin treatment following Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis". CBS Sports. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  46. ^ "White Sox News: Liam Hendriks has closed out cancer". 5 April 2023.
  47. ^ "Hendriks announces he is in remission: 'It's official. I'm cancer free'". MLB.com. Retrieved 21 April 2023.