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Article: Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics

liam hendriks minnesota twins twins daily bullpen series
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#1 Andrew Thares

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:23 PM

At this point, it is starting to sound like a broken record. You take a starting pitcher who is struggling to get hitters out, move him to the bullpen, and whala, he becomes a new and improved pitcher out of the pen. Well, that is exactly what has happened with Liam Hendriks, who from 2011 through 2013 was a very poor starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.Liam Hendriks’ time with the Twins came to an end after the 2013 season, when they designated him for assignment to make room for new free agent signee Phil Hughes. Hendriks spent the next year bouncing around among a number of organizations, and wound up making six combined starts at the MLB level as a member of both the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. In 2015, the Blue Jays transitioned Hendriks to the bullpen, and that is where his career took off. From 2011 through 2014, Hendriks made 39 appearances (34 starts) at the MLB level. In that time he had a 5.92 ERA (5.05 FIP), with a 1.55 WHIP, 5.87 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, and 1.57 HR/9 in 188 and 2/3 innings. Since his move to the bullpen in 2015, Hendriks has a 3.33 ERA (2.84 FIP), with a 1.21 WHIP, 10.12 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, and 0.69 HR/9 in 259 and 2/3 innings. In 2019, Hendriks has taken his game to a whole new level, as his 1.49 ERA ranks 13th among all qualified relievers in major league baseball.

So how was Hendriks able to make such a drastic improvement from the pitcher we saw in a Twins uniform just a few years prior? The first thing Hendriks did was add velocity to his fastball. Here is a chart showing Hendriks average fastball velocity per season.

Download attachment: 2EF37287-651A-424D-B63F-69F0AC9E44BC.jpeg

While it is expected for many pitchers to get a velocity jump when moving to the pen, it is rare to see them add more than 3 MPH, like Hendriks did when he made the move. In 2019, Hendriks' average fastball velocity of 95.6 MPH, is in the 87th percentile among all MLB pitchers who have thrown at least 250 pitches this season. That’s a big improvement from the soft throwing righty that he was as a starter.

Another thing that Hedriks has done over the last few seasons is phase out his sinker. While he was a starter, Hendriks’ sinker was his primary pitch, throwing it nearly 40 percent of the time, while his four-seamer was a less commonly used pitch, throwing it a little more than 25 percent of the time. In 2017, the Oakland Athletics told Hendriks to move away from that pitch, and in 2019 it is essentially no longer a part of his pitching arsenal (thrown on just 2.4 percent of pitches this year, compared to 64.9 percent for his four-seamer).

One thing that will be monitored over the next month is if the Athletics decide to become sellers at the trade deadline. As of Monday morning, the Athletics are just 1.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the second Wild Card spot. However, per Fangraphs, their playoff odds stand at just 8 percent.

Hendriks is currently pitching on a 1-year deal worth $2.15 million dollars. This means if the Twins acquire Hendriks, he won’t make much of an impact at all to their pocket book or future plans financially.

See Also
Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels
Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays
Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants
Brad Hand, LHP, Indians
Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds
John Gant, RHP, Cardinals
Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox
Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets
Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks
Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals
Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres
10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

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#2 diehardtwinsfan



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Posted 24 June 2019 - 05:13 PM

I'd aim a bit higher...


and this is trolling :)

#3 theBOMisthebomb


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Posted 24 June 2019 - 06:25 PM

I cannot wipe the memories of how awful he was during his time with the Twins. It is difficult to believe he is that much better 5 years later yet the numbers say otherwise.

#4 Danchat


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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:00 PM

I didn't realize how good of a season Hendriks was having last year. Opening that game against the Yankees in the playoffs last year painted a negative picture in my mind, but he's a good reliever. I also don't see the A's moving him as they're 3 games above .500 at the moment and are likely to be in a race for the wild card.

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#5 Linus


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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:13 PM

I cannot wipe the memories of how awful he was during his time with the Twins. It is difficult to believe he is that much better 5 years later yet the numbers say otherwise.

My either. I start twitching like B Parker just thinking about it
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#6 DocBauer


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Posted 24 June 2019 - 08:51 PM

I believe the Twins can and will shoot higher than Hendricks. But just for fun, I looked at his basic numbers since he became SO in 2015. Keep in mind these numbers are slightly skewed due to on incredible SO/BB ratio in 2015 and only a, almost, half season in 2019.

3.30 ERA/ 1.227 WHIP/ 4.01 SO-BB/ 9.94 K-9/ .241 BA

Nothing earth shattering, but those are fine numbers. He wouldn't be my first choice, but if the A's decide to on, he would be a cheap and useful addition.
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#7 highlander



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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:16 AM

Noooooooo, noooooooo, just noooooooo!!!! I will have nightmares for the rest of my life.

#8 Puckett34



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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:44 AM

If he's the headliner of bullpen additions before 7/31, I'd be disappointed. If he's one of say, 2-3, would feel far better about it.

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