Oakland A’s: Liam Hendriks wins AL Reliever of the Year
By David Hill
After missing out in 2019, Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks finally earned the AL Reliever of the Year award, taking home the hardware for 2020.
Liam Hendriks was a key part of the Oakland A’s bullpen over the past two seasons. His dominance in 2020 helped establish the A’s bullpen buzzsaw, allowing them to capture the AL West and reach the postseason.
On Saturday, that excellence was rewarded. Hendriks was named as the AL Reliever of the Year for the 2020 season.
One could argue that he deserved the honor in 2019 as well, when he lost out to Aroldis Chapman. In a breakout season, he posted a 1.80 ERA and a 0.965 WHiP, striking out an impressive 124 batters with only 21 walks in 85 innings. Hendriks went from an anonymous middle reliever to an excellent closer, solidifying the back of the A’s bullpen after Blake Treinen imploded.
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But with that performance, there were plenty of questions. Hendriks had not found that level of success at all in the majors prior to 2019, making him one of the biggest question marks on the A’s heading into 2020. While they were confident that he could replicate that production, he still needed to prove it on the diamond.
Hendriks did exactly that. He not only replicated his breakout season, but was arguably better in 2020 than he had been the year before. In his 25.1 innings, he posted a 1.78 ERA and a 0.671 WHiP, striking out 37 batters with just three walks. Hendriks went from being a question mark to establishing himself as one of the top closers in the game.
He has also positioned himself for a solid payday in free agency. Relievers are always in high demand, especially ones who can dominate as Hendriks did over the past two seasons. This award only adds to his resume and further establishes him as one of the top options available.
Liam Hendriks is the 2020 AL Reliever of the Year. The Oakland A’s closer deserved this award.