Liam Hendriks...least notable? I don't think so.
As two of Minnesota's most highly-touted pitching prospects this season, both Kyle Gibson and Liam Hendriks appeared in this summer's Futures Game. Gibson pitched for team USA, Hendriks pitched for the World team. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Jeremy Greenhouse scouted the game and made a number of notes for each pitcher.
On Hendriks (1 IP, 2 H, 1 R):
"Liam Hendriks was the least notable pitcher of the day for me. He seems like the type who lets the batter put the ball in play, which makes sense, given that he’s a Twins prospect."
I know I'm probably a little biased as a Twins fan, but that seems like a pretty broad statement to make about a guy who just pitched one (admittedly disappointing) inning. The quick-moving 22-year old Australian has averaged less than a hit per inning in the minor leagues, and his strikeout numbers certainly aren't flashy but they're not those of a contact pitcher, either.
|20||2009||R / A||9.9||8.1|
|21||2010||A / A+||6.5||8.7|
As far as I'm concerned, those are some solid numbers. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe Hendriks does induce a lot of contact and his stuff doesn't project him to be a Major League pitcher who will strike out 8 men per 9 innings, but calling a guy "least notable" based off one inning of work rubs me the wrong way. I've just never heard anyone refer to Hendriks in that fashion. But like I said, I'm biased.
Greenhouse goes on to talk at a bit more length about Gibson (1.1 IP, 2 H):
"Kyle Gibson came in and pulled off a neat trick, featuring his entire arsenal in his first five pitches. First, Jurickson Profar hit a very-well-located sinker for a triple. Gibson then started Reymond Fuentes off with another well-located pitch, this time a changeup, which I marked as the best change of the day. Fuentes swung and missed. Gibson wasted a slider in the dirt before going back away with the changeup for another swinging strike. To finish Fuentes off, Gibson went up the ladder with a four-seam fastball, and Fuentes squared it up, flying out to deep center. Gibson stands 6’6" and threw from the highest release point of any pitcher."
This, however, matches up with what we've heard of Gibson so far. Good command of all pitches, will throw them at any time. I'm also impressed that he was able to strand a runner at third base after giving up a triple.
I'll be back later today with some All-Star related content, and be sure to join us tonight for our All-Star gamethread. Even if it's just to make fun of every All-Star not named Cuddyer.