• Liam Hendriks Has Run Out of Chances

    Liam Hendriks is still only 24 years old. He owns a career 2.99 ERA in the minor leagues. He was dominant against Triple-A hitters as recently as last year. In so many respects, it seems far too soon to consider giving up on the Australian righty.

    Yet, after watching his downright miserable performance in Chicago on Monday night, it's awfully difficult to come away with any conclusion other than this: The Twins need to move on.

    Hendriks' latest outing is the lowlight in what's been a tumultuous major-league career. He's had plenty of clunkers across the past three seasons, in which he is 2-13 with a 6.01 ERA, but Monday's dud truly takes the cake. Going against a White Sox club that was averaging a league-low 3.64 runs per game and had scored just seven times in its past six contests, Hendriks coughed up seven runs on five hits and three walks while recording only two outs.

    It has always been somewhat apparent from watching him that Hendriks doesn't really have the stuff to be an effective major-league pitcher, but his youth and his superb numbers throughout most of his minor-league career (not to mention a dearth of appealing alternative options in the high levels) have led many -- including myself -- to urge the right-hander be given more opportunities.

    And the Twins have given him those opportunities. They let him roll for 16 starts last year despite his consistently poor results. And this season, even though he was coming off his worst season in the minors (he went 4-8 with a 4.67 ERA in Rochester) the Twins called him up in September so he could try to finish on a high note.

    Instead, Hendriks has done the opposite. In what was likely his final start of the season, he was as bad as could be. And the timing could hardly be worse for the Aussie, who will be out of options next year. With the Twins badly needing to improve their organizational talent during the offseason, it's no longer palatable to dedicate a 40-man roster spot to someone who has unfortunately been one of the chief contributors to their pitching woes over the last couple years.
    This article was originally published in blog: Liam Hendriks Has Run Out of Chances started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I was all for giving this guy a chance as well. But he is just another clone of Blackburn, DeVries, Walters, and all the other soft tossing AAAA pitcher this organization has. We need more guys like Meyers and May that can get 6-10+ strikeouts per night.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      He is young. Hendricks can still learn to pitch. He can learn to move the ball up and down, in and out while changing speeds with each pitch. If he learns to pitch, his Strikeout rate will improve, his groundball rate will improve, and his location will improve. This is what the minor leagues are for. We have Albers and Diamond, who are a couple years older, and they are learning to be pitchers. Hendricks can learn to do it as well.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I believe he is young enough (24) to get another chance. Maybe here, maybe a change of scenery. Cut him off the 40 man roster. If he is claimed, so be it. If not, give him a Rochester contract and a spring training invite.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Learn to pitch. Except the Twins don't teach pitching. The Twins preach promote (or punish) pitch-count and "attacking the strikezone". Sadly, pitching is short-circuited by throwing, and the results at the major league level show exactly that. In order for Hendriks to "learn pitching" he will have to do so for a team that actually teaches pitching. Given his age and baseball level (AAA) I am skeptical anyone will invest the resources for Hendriks. It seems his career will have to be as a relief pitcher.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I would not keep him on the 40-man roster. I don't know what else to do with him. It was frustrating Monday because he hit 94 at least once. I don't remember EVER seeing that from him. He was consistently at 92. But it was rather straight and it was also the only pitch he could throw for a strike. They took every breaking ball for a ball. I don't know if I am exaggerating at all there. And they kept trying to throw the damn thing on almost every other pitch.

      The Dunn smash to just under the yellow line and into Presley's glove was the only true well-hit ball. But missed bats? Almost none. They fouled off every good fastball he threw and then blooped or "duck snorted" (as Hawk would say if it was the opposing team's hitters) the rest.

      Given his youth, I would try to get him to Rochester next year, hope he does well there, and then try to add him in to a trade deal with somebody at the deadline for somebody.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      And "relief pitcher" isn't a terrible idea.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      This guy just baffles me. How can you have his repetoire and his minor league success and still be this awful?

      I almost want to keep giving him chances just because I don't get why he sucks.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I'm a huge believer in Liam Hendriks, have been for a long time. I still believe that he has the stuff to be a decent 3/4 starter. he's still young. He's very smart. Plenty of pitchers have been long-term successful for a long time with less stuff. Seems to be a little between the ears with him right now. I think he'll be decent down the line. I hate to see the Twins let him go. But, this might be a classic change-of-scenery thing.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      No matter what, TR can't assume he's a starter next year. He has to assume he gets nothing from Liam, and be happy if he does somehw. count me in the shocked how bad he's been again this year.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      I think that there is still a chance he figures it out. If we let him go, I think he ends up somewhere else. I will be pissed if we remove him from the 40 man, but keep Pedro or Cole, or (insert other pitcher with no upside). If we are gonna clean house then lets do it across the board.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Could a different pitching coach be the change-of-scenery he needs? I'm not in the Anderson Is Terrible camp, but sometimes a switch to someone else that is good but has a different approach could make a difference with the non-performers on the roster. The question about the 40-man slot is vexing of course - that roster is littered with marginal cases like Liam.
    1. Marta Shearing's Avatar
      Marta Shearing -
      Him and swarzak should have switched rolls long ago.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I'm a huge believer in Liam Hendriks, have been for a long time. I still believe that he has the stuff to be a decent 3/4 starter. he's still young. He's very smart. Plenty of pitchers have been long-term successful for a long time with less stuff. Seems to be a little between the ears with him right now. I think he'll be decent down the line. I hate to see the Twins let him go. But, this might be a classic change-of-scenery thing.
      I can't think of a suspect upon which we have disagreed so starkly. Maybe Slowey.

      I didn't want them to give him another chance this year, let alone two. I've seen enough of him to know he's never going to amount to much as a starter in the big leagues. If you go back into the anals of Twins pitching history, you will be hard pressed to find a guy who was allowed to fail so many times and for so long. Sorry Liam, the truth hurts.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by Marta Shearing View Post
      Him and swarzak should have switched rolls long ago.
      Swarzak has finally found a spot where he shines, why make a change? He's not going to fix the black hole, but appears he can contribute to the future as a long reliever. There does come a time to take what you can get and move on to the next candidate. Not really unlike Perkins and both have been in the organization since 2004.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I can't think of a suspect upon which we have disagreed so starkly. Maybe Slowey.

      I didn't want them to give him another chance this year, let alone two. I've seen enough of him to know he's never going to amount to much as a starter in the big leagues. If you go back into the anals of Twins pitching history, you will be hard pressed to find a guy who was allowed to fail so many times and for so long. Sorry Liam, the truth hurts.
      The Twins annals are filled with pitchers that have been given long leashes despite their failure. Frankie Rodriguez, Pat Mahomes, Jose Parra, Scott Aldred and Rich Robertson all pitched more innings than Hendriks for the Twins with hideous ERA's. I only had to look at 2 years in the late 90's to find these guys. Hell the poster boy for failure as a starter is LaTroy Hawkins. 521 innings pitched and a 6.21 ERA. Liam pales in comparison.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      The Twins annals are filled with pitchers that have been given long leashes despite their failure. Frankie Rodriguez, Pat Mahomes, Jose Parra, Scott Aldred and Rich Robertson all pitched more innings than Hendriks for the Twins with hideous ERA's. I only had to look at 2 years in the late 90's to find these guys. Hell the poster boy for failure as a starter is LaTroy Hawkins. 521 innings pitched and a 6.21 ERA. Liam pales in comparison.
      First of all, if you had to pick a decade with the worst pitching in Twins history (besides the teens), you'd pick the 90s.

      Secondly, I don't like your comps.

      Frankie Rodriguez pitched 206 innings one year. He had three better years than Hendriks. The next year he sucked and was gone.

      Aldred Pitched in parts of two seasons and was gone, after he had been in the major leagues for six years

      Robertson had a 3.83 ERA his first year and three shutouts in the next. In his third year, he sucked and was gone

      Parra pitched parts of two seasons (mostly as a reliever) and not more than 70 innings in either of them

      Pat Mahomes and LeTroy Hawkins were both former phenoms who threw in the upper 90s. They are still perhaps the best comps for Liam considering that both had successful careers as relievers after leaving the Twins. But Liam doesn't throw that hard, so I kind of doubt it.

      Finally, I don't think innings is the best measure of how many chances a guy gets. Liam Hendriks has been given five chances. In each case, he has been historically bad. The reason he has not racked up innings is he's so bad, they have to pull him in the fourth inning a lot and end up sending him down. Then he pitches OK at AAA, and they call him back up again, where he is horrible. If he was at all good, he would have put up more innings than all but Rodriguez on your list.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      First of all, if you had to pick a decade with the worst pitching in Twins history (besides the teens), you'd pick the 90s.

      Secondly, I don't like your comps.

      Frankie Rodriguez pitched 206 innings one year. He had three better years than Hendriks. The next year he sucked and was gone.

      Aldred Pitched in parts of two seasons and was gone, after he had been in the major leagues for six years

      Robertson had a 3.83 ERA his first year and three shutouts in the next. In his third year, he sucked and was gone

      Parra pitched parts of two seasons (mostly as a reliever) and not more than 70 innings in either of them

      Pat Mahomes and LeTroy Hawkins were both former phenoms who threw in the upper 90s. They are still perhaps the best comps for Liam considering that both had successful careers as relievers after leaving the Twins. But Liam doesn't throw that hard, so I kind of doubt it.

      Finally, I don't think innings is the best measure of how many chances a guy gets. Liam Hendriks has been given five chances. In each case, he has been historically bad. The reason he has not racked up innings is he's so bad, they have to pull him in the fourth inning a lot and end up sending him down. Then he pitches OK at AAA, and they call him back up again, where he is horrible. If he was at all good, he would have put up more innings than all but Rodriguez on your list.
      I'm not arguing Hendriks is a good starter (or will become one). I am saying the Twins let pitchers struggle for quite a while before they pull the plug. Hendriks is not a rarity. I would be interested to see what he brings to the bullpen. Perkins wasn't lighting up radar guns as a starter either....
    1. Danchat's Avatar
      Danchat -
      I have to agree with Shane. Try him out in the bullpen, and if that doesn't work, aidos.
      I'd take him any day over De Vries and Walters, but that's it. I think he's done as a starter.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Move him to the pen now. Then off the 40 man roster(along with the rest of the scholarship players. If he clears waviers, send him to Rochester and try and get something for him. Do not give him another chance.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      The chances are good that he would pass thru waivers. Not sure if he becomes a minor league free agent then or not. I don't really see anby otehr team claiming him and letting him hold a 40-man spot. I can see any number of teams giving him a tryout (because of his age). I'm not sure if he would work in the long-relief role. Not even sure if he is necessary for short relief or to be groomed as a closer. With his success at AAA, he would be just as good as any number of other guys, and maybe have a resurgence like Perkins down the line (we remember that period in Perkins time, right). But for now, I see him looking for a job, rather than worrying about a job.
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