AAA – Another view on Liam Hendriks

Nathaniel Stoltz at the blog focussed on Liam Hendriks when he was first promoted to AAA:

It’s common knowledge that the Twins love control pitchers, and few of their prospects fit that mold more than righthanderLiam Hendriks. The 22-year-old Australian righthander mixes five pitches and keeps the ball in the strike zone.

And he’s now close to Target Field, as the Twins have promoted the righthander to Triple-A Rochester after a dominant run with Double-A New Britain.

Hendriks made a name for himself in 2010 by posting a 105/12 K/BB across the two A-ball levels, showing incredible command and still managing to strike out nearly a batter per inning.

Moving to Double-A this season, the crafty righthander has maintained a similar strikeout rate–81 punchouts in 90 innings–while walking just 18 batters.

Furthermore, he’s been able to avoid major damage when his average arsenal gets hit, allowing just five homers this season. He also allowed just two homers all of last season, so clearly, he’s not just throwing the ball down the middle just to avoid walks. Given that he’ll be pitching in spacious Target Field when he reaches the majors anyway, Hendriks isn’t likely to meet the rude awakening many minor league soft-tossers get in the bigs.

He operates with a diverse mix of pitches, including a fastball around 90 mph, two different breaking balls, a cutter, and a good changeup. Given that he’s had such a strong career to this point and is extremely polished, Hendriks seems like as safe a bet as any minor leaguer to be a solid mid-rotation starter.

He’ll make his Triple-A debut tonight and could debut in the majors very soon if he gets off to a good start and there’s a need in Minnesota.

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