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Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks - RHP
Hometown: Perth, WA
Debut: 6 September 2011
Final Game: still active
Teams played for: Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals

Another product of recent baseball powerhouse Western Australia, right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks' MLB career is still in its early stages.

Born and raised in Perth, Hendriks trained with the MLB Australian Academy Program and signed with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent in 2007, at the age of 18. He made his professional debut that season for the GCL Twins, going 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA in ten starts.

After missing the 2008 season because of back surgery, Hendriks regained his full health for the 2009 World Baseball Classic and made two appearances for the Southern Thunder. At 20 years old, he was the youngest Australian on the roster. Despite a shaky performance in the Classic, Hendriks went on to have a good year in the Minors, posting a 5-5 overall record and 3.55 ERA in 14 starts split between two different levels.

Following the 2010 season, Hendriks joined his hometown Perth Heat side for the inaugural Australian Baseball League season. The righty made eight appearances (six starts) for the Heat, going 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA but striking out 25 batters while walking just six in 26 1/3 innings pitched.

Hendriks continued his swift ascent through the organisation, and by the end of the 2011 season played for the Twins' Triple-A team in Rochester. When Major League rosters expanded that September, Hendriks got the call and made his MLB debut on 6 September, starting the Twins' ballgame against the Chicago White Sox. Despite losing the game 3-0, Hendriks pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out four batters. He made three more starts for Minnesota that season, finishing the year with an 0-2 MLB record and 6.12 ERA.

Hendriks earned the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year award in 2011, thanks to a 12-6 record and 3.36 ERA in 25 games spread out between Double-A and Triple-A. He earned a spot in the 2012 Twins rotation thanks to a series of stellar spring starts. However, he got off to a slow start and eventually made 16 starts apiece in both the Majors and Triple-A.

In Rochester, Hendriks succeeded, posting a 9-3 record and 2.20 ERA, but his numbers for the Twins were less reliable with a 1-8 record and 5.59 ERA. He earned his first MLB win on 19 September 2012, beating the Cleveland Indians 6-4, but spent one more unremarkable season with the Twins before his time in Minnesota ran its course in the 2013 offseason.

The right-hander was eventually picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays after the Twins designated him for assignment. Hendriks earned another callup and made his first start for the big league team on 23 May 2014. After beginning the season on a roll with Triple-A Buffalo and following his Toronto debut, Hendriks was named starter of the Triple-A All-Star Game and claimed International League Top Star honours after firing two scoreless innings.

Hendriks made two more starts in a Blue Jays uniform before the team traded him to the Kansas City Royals at the trading deadline. He began his career in his new organisation at Triple-A Omaha, but after a month with the Storm Chasers, the Royals recalled him to spot start against the Twins, his former club. Hendriks dominated in his Royals debut against his former team, pitching seven innings and allowing one run on four hits and earning a no-decision in a game the Royals would go on to win, 6-1. He stayed with the Royals through the end of the season, making five more appearances and finishing the 2014 season with a 1-2 overall record and 5.23 ERA in nine games.

The Royals designated Hendriks for assignment during the 2014 World Series, and traded him back to the Blue Jays on 30 October. After a strong spring, he earned a spot in the Toronto bullpen to start the 2015 MLB season. A starter for most of his career, Hendriks quickly settled into his new middle relief role with the Blue Jays. He finished the season with a 5-0 record and 2.92 ERA in 58 bullpen appearances as Toronto won its first division title since 1993. 

 

View Liam Hendriks's career statistics from Baseball Reference

(Photo at right: Hendriks deals a pitch for the Heat during the 2010/11 ABL season. Credit: SMP Images/ABL Media)