Thus far in the Outside of the Park 2020 season simulation, Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks is continuing to dominate.
The closer role could have been a major problem for the Oakland A’s in 2019. Blake Treinen, who had been one of the best closers in the American League in 2018, suddenly lost his command. The A’s, needing to find someone to handle the ninth, did so in an unexpected place – journeyman Liam Hendriks.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Hendriks had a dream year in Oakland. Arguably the best reliever in the AL last season, he posted a surprising 1.80 ERA and a 0.965 WHiP over his 85 innings. Hendriks notched 25 saves while striking out 124 batters against 21 walks. He had suddenly become a star in the A’s bullpen.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the A’s in the 2020 season is whether or not Hendriks can replicate that success. Oakland does not have much of a second option at closer, unless Joakim Soria can put his disappointing 2019 season behind him.
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With that being the case, any sign that Hendriks can replicate that success would be welcomed by the A’s and their fans. He was solid during spring training, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings, striking out 11 batters. March statistics may be meaningless, but that performance was certainly a step in the right direction.
As strong as those numbers were, they pale in comparison to how Hendriks has performed in the simulated 2020 season. According to the OOTP simulation of 2020, Hendriks has taken his game to another level. In his 19.1 simulated innings, he has allowed just four runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out 25 batters.
Obviously, these simulations are just that – fake games and transactions throughout the season. And yet, it is certainly good to see that, in one universe at least, Hendriks is not only replicating his success from last season, but building upon it.
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Liam Hendriks has been dominant in the 2020 OOTP simulated season. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come for the Oakland A’s closer.