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Liam Hendriks Offers Upside in Fantasy Baseball but Carries Risk

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A solid season in 2019, Hendriks was officially given the Athletics’ closing job at the end of June. Over his final 42.2 innings, he walked only four batters with 74 strikeouts, which led to a 2.11 ERA and 25 saves in 31 chances. But his ERA from 2016-2018 is a bit of a concern for Sports Illustrated’s fantasy baseball analyst Shawn Childs who points out Hendricks 1.80 ERA in 2019 might have been an anomaly considering he was in the low fours in both 2017 and 2018. Should fantasy baseball players draft Hendricks with confidence in 2020? That’s what Corey Parson asked Childs and John Hickey of InsideTheAthletics.

Liam Hendriks

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Corey Parson: Major League Baseball could be on his way back. That means fantasy baseball could be on its way back. I'm Corey Parson, the fantasy executive from si.com, getting ready to talk some baseball. Joining me to do that is A's insider, John Hickey and SI fantasy and gambling analyst Shawn Childs. Shawn, I'll start with you. What do you think of Liam Hendricks this upcoming season?

Shawn Childs: He was phenomenal last year. He was probably one of the best waiver wire pickups for a relief pitcher. He started the year off really well as a took over the job about the third week in June. Over the last 42 and in 74 strikeouts, only four walks, 2.11 ERA, converted twenty-five of his 31 saves. Pretty spectacular, high fastball, a high 90s explosive curveball and slider. The trick here is that he has one year's success as a closer and it looks pretty electric. But in the past, in 2016 his ERA was 3.76, 2017 4.22, in 2018 4.13. So it's just a matter is he going to be that elite arm? He threw the most strikes of his career. He gets drafted pretty high ADP of 92, but he is a little more of a fade for me because of a short resumé. The same situation the year before when Blake Treinen was coming off an electric year and Liam Hendricks followed in suit. We know when he pitched well for them. So it's a kind of a tricky player, but I want to be a slight pass on him unless he's discounted.

Corey Parson: John, you around the team? What do you think of Hendricks?

John Hickey: I love him as a guy and I love it. I love the fact that he's added so much velocity. But relievers of course are notoriously hard, hard to judge. I think that this guy could be a steal, but not, you don't want to shoot your entire budget on Liam.

Corey Parson: All right. Thanks a lot, John. Thanks a lot, Shawn. For all the latest on the majors, keep it locked in right here on si.com.