Liam Johnson Hendriks
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.
- High School Sacred Heart College (Sorrento)
- Debut September 6, 2011
Liam Hendriks was a top Australian prospect entering 2008 and made his major league debut three years later.
Hendriks was signed by international scouting coordinator Howard Norsetter for the Minnesota Twins shortly after his 18th birthday and debuted in the minors with the 2007 GCL Twins. He went 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA, struck out 52 in 44 innings and walked 11. He made his Claxton Shield debut in 2008 and went 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA, finishing third in ERA and tying Tim Cox and Mark Kelly for the most wins. He struck out 25 to tie Kelly for the lead. He was added to the Australian national team for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament and was arguably their top hurler, allowing one unearned run in five innings. He allowed two hits and a walk while fanning six. The rest of the staff was less successful (a 5.34 team ERA) and Australia failed to qualify for the Beijing Games.
Hendriks had back surgery that prevented him from pitching in the minors in 2008, but he made Australia's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The youngest Australian player in the Classic, he was 7th among their 13 pitchers in ERA despite having an ERA over 9; Australia played their games in high-scoring Foro Sol Stadium. Hendriks tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in a 17-7 win over host Mexico. In his second outing, he replaced Brendan Wise in the 4th inning against Mexico, trailing 5-0 and with two aboard. He gave up a single to Augie Ojeda and a RBI ground-out to Jerry Hairston Jr.. Edgar Gonzalez singled home a run. Paul Mildren relieved and let both inherited runners score.
Hendriks made his major league debut late in the 2011 season, going 0-2, 6.17 in 4 starts. In 2012, he shuffled a number of times between AAA Rochester and the Twins' starting rotation. However, his first major league victory proved to be elusive. In a particularly heart-breaking loss on August 27th, he matched the great Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners pitch for pitch for seven innings, only to give up a solo homer to Eric Thames in the 8th. It was the only run of the game, and the complete game loss gave him a record of 0-7, 6.02 in 10 starts. He finally got his first win on September 19th, 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians, but his was his lone W of the year. He ended the season at 1-8, 5.59 in 16 starts. 2013 was more of the same, as he was 1-3, 6.85 in 10 games for the Twins. He also had a losing record in the minors, finishing the year 4-8, 4.67 in 16 starts at Rochester.
Liam signed with the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2014 season and began the season back in AAA, this time with the Buffalo Bisons. He was 5-0, 1.48 after 9 appearances when he got the call to Toronto, replacing Esmil Rogers, who was released. This time, he was able to enter the win column quickly, as he was a winner in his first start on May 23rd, 3-2 over the Oakland A's. He explained his recent turnaround by a deliberate attempt to be more aggressive and challenge hitters more than he had in the past. After a couple more shuttles between Buffalo and Toronto, his record was at 8-1, 2.33 in AAA, where he was a mid-season All-Star, and 1-0, 6.08 in three starts for the Blue Jays when he was traded to the Kansas City Royals on July 28th. He and C Erik Kratz headed to the Royals in return for 3B Danny Valencia. he made 6 appearances for the Royals, including 3 starts, and went 0-2, 4.66 in 19 1/3 innings. He was not on the team's postseason roster, and after the Royals lost the 2014 World Series, he was designated for assignment and traded back to Toronto on October 30th, in return for minor league catcher Santiago Nessy.
Hendriks had his best season for the Blue Jays in 2015, making 58 appearances in relief with a record of 5-0 and a 2.92 ERA. In 64 2/3 innings, he struck out 71 and walked only 11. He pitched only a third of an inning in the ALDS, but added 4 2/3 innings in two outings in the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits. On November 20th, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in return for P Jesse Chavez.