Liam Hendriks has continued to dominate as the Oakland A’s closer, taking home the American League Reliever of the Month award for August.
One of the great stories for the Oakland A’s in 2019 was the emergence of Liam Hendriks. He had been a relatively anonymous pitcher during his career, a one time starter who ended up drifting into a middle relief role. Pressed into service as the A’s closer, he responded with a career year, making his first All Star Game and entering the conversation as the American League Reliever of the Year.
This also led to Hendriks being one of the major question marks for the A’s heading into this season. They were relying upon him to be their closer for 2021, believing that his breakout campaign was not a fluke. However, if that was indeed the case, they did not have much of a backup plan in place. The spotlight was going to be on Hendriks to replicate his performance.
Thus far, he has done exactly that. He has dominated to start the 2020 campaign, with that excellent beginning to the year attracting attention. In recognition of his success, he was named the AL Reliever of the Month for August.
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It is not the first time that Hendriks had earned the award. He was named the AL Reliever of the Month in June 2019, the first full month that he was the A’s closer. Hendriks was also named as The Sporting News’ AL Reliever of the Year last season, even if Aroldis Chapman was handed the Major League Baseball award.
Hendriks was absolutely dominant in August. He allowed just one run on six hits and a walk in his 14 innings, notching nine saves and two wins while striking out 20 batters. His dominance in the ninth inning has been a key part in the A’s successful start to the season.
It also brings up an interesting question for the A’s moving forward. Hendriks has likely priced himself out of their budget with his continued dominance. Likewise, the Qualifying Offer, which was $17.8 million last offseason, could be more than the A’s are willing to guarantee in the event that Hendriks does accept that payday.
Liam Hendriks is off to a dominant start, showing that his success in 2019 was not a fluke. That dominance has been recognized with the AL Reliever of the Month award for August.