Chicago White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks has been named to the 2021 All-MLB first team. Hendriks became one of just four players to make the cut three times in the award’s existence.
The White Sox signed Hendriks as a free agent prior to the 2021 season. The fiery Australian was dominant through the first half of the season. His veteran leadership and emotion on the mound helped drive the Sox to their first division title since 2008.
Hendriks finished with an 8-3 record, 2.54 ERA (20 ER/71.0 IP), 38 saves, 113 strikeouts, seven walks, 171 ERA+, 0.732 WHIP, and .174 (45-for-258) opponent average against. He joined Terry Forster, Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage, and Bobby Thigpen as the only White Sox relievers to lead the American League in saves. Hendriks also led all MLB relievers in strikeouts, and AL relievers in WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
At the 2021 trade deadline, the White Sox acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the Cubs. It looked like the White Sox had a two-headed monster with Hendriks and Kimbrel looming at the back end of the bullpen, but Kimbrel underperformed on the South Side.
Going into 2022, it looks like Liam Hendriks will return as the closer as Kimbrel will likely be on the move. The White Sox reportedly signed Kendall Gravmen to a three-year deal on Tuesday. He and Aaron Bummer represent setup role options.
As for Liam Hendriks, he has been the best closer in baseball for the past few years. There is no reason to expect his production will drop off during his second season in Chicago.
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