After another dominant season, Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks deserves to be named the American League Reliever of the Year.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced the finalists for the American League and National League Relievers of the Year. This season, on the AL side, the three finalists are the White Sox Alex Colome, Brad Hand of the Cleveland Indians, and Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks.
This is not the first time Hendriks has been nominated for the award. He was a finalist in 2019 as well, losing out to Aroldis Chapman, although one could have argued that Hendriks was the much better option. Hendriks was, however, named as The Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year last season.
Hendriks built off of his breakout 2019 campaign this year. He posted a 1.78 ERA and a 0.671 WHiP, striking out 37 batters with just three walks in his 25.1 innings. Hendriks also finished second in the majors with his 14 saves in 2020.
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While it will not factor into the award, Hendriks showed how valuable of a reliever he is during the postseason. Just a day after firing 2.2 innings in the A’s Game Two victory in the Wild Card Round, he came back and pitched the final inning for the save in Game Three. Hendriks then threw the final three innings in the A’s only victory in the ALDS, making certain that they would not be swept away.
Those performances, however, do speak volumes to what Hendriks meant to the A’s. He was the piece that allowed their bullpen buzzsaw to operate in the regular season, the key cog that the other pieces fit around. His presence went a long way towards their success.
If the award is given based on how much that player meant to his team, then Hendriks easily deserves it. Likewise, his production and continued dominance should make him an easy choice to win the award this season, despite the strong showings from Hand and Colome.
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Liam Hendriks dominated for the Oakland A’s once again. Maybe this time, he will win the American League Reliever of the Year award.