Liam Hendriks, the firebreathing closer for the Chicago White Sox, is trying to rediscover his top form after Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and subsequent chemotherapy. However, he remains optimistic and sees his current situation as a challenge, similar to what he faced before when he made the jump from a mid-90s reliever to an elite closer.
Hendriks’ spin rates look similar to last year, and his elite extension in his delivery, which makes his velocity seem even faster to hitters, has been better than ever. Although his swinging-strike rate is currently at 15.3 percent, short of his normal rate of north of 19 percent, he would still be easily in the top 30 among relievers in the sport if he had enough innings to qualify. Hendriks' struggles are mainly location issues, which is something every pitcher faces. Overall, his current performance is survivable and remains optimistic that he will regain his top-tier stuff soon.
In other news, Stephen Strasburg suffered a setback in his rehab due to severe nerve damage, and it's uncertain if he will return to the MLB. Strasburg had been dominant in 2019, winning the World Series MVP and signing a 7-year, $245 million contract extension before making just eight appearances for the Nationals since then.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, Hendriks' optimism is a testament to his resilience and determination.