A statistical analysis of Liam Hendriks
As a prospect, Liam Hendriks’ stock continually rose as he kept similarly miniscule walk rates at each level of the minors. However, reports on his stuff varied, as some observers saw him as merely an inning-eating fifth starter, while others saw enough to recommend him as a classic Twins mid-rotation control artist.
A four-pitch pitcher, Hendriks works at 88-92 mph with his fastball, touching 93 or even 94 mph a couple of times per game. He’s averaged 90.4 mph with the heater thus far in his two big league starts. He shows the ability to cut it, sink it, or tail it at will without sacrificing velocity, which allows him to give a number of different looks with the pitch.
Hendriks throws both a slider (80-82 mph) and curveball (72-76). He hasn’t used the slider too much in the majors yet, but it’s notable for having substantial vertical drop, almost looking like a hard curveball at times. His curveball is a big, slow bender with solid-average break.
Against righthanders, Hendriks is a very fastball-heavy pitcher, only occasionally going to his breaking pitches. Against lefthanders, however, he makes much more extensive use of his curveball and changeup. The changeup is basically a straight change–its movement is almost identical to that of his fastball–but it’s nearly ten mph slower and he throws it with the same arm speed.
Basically, Hendriks is a 22-year-old with four average pitches and plus command and pitching savvy. As one might expect, he throws with a very clean, easy delivery and arm action. He does step somewhat toward third base in his delivery, as he loves to get good angle to the arm-side of the plate. Just look at his location to lefties:
It’s not surprising that a pitcher without plus “stuff” would want to keep the ball away from opposite-handed batters, but it’s more intriguing that Hendriks stays on that side of the plate to righties: