The Cubs have claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Twins, reports La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (on Twitter). Hendriks had been designated for assignment last week to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Phil Hughes.
Hendriks, still just 24 years old, makes for a nice buy-low option for the Cubs. The 25-year-old ranked sixth and seventh on the Baseball America's Top 10 Twins prospects lists from 2010-11 and has a solid minor league history. The Australian righty has a 3.61 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 254 career innings at Triple-A and a career 2.99 ERA in the minors as a whole.
Hendriks has been unable to put it together in three Major League stints, however, as evidenced by his bloated 6.06 ERA in 156 innings. He's averaged 5.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in those 156 frames to go along with a below-average 40.4 percent ground-ball rate. Hendriks barely averages better than 90 mph on his fastball, leading to too much hard contact when it's in the zone, as evidenced by a 23.3 percent line-drive rate from his opponents that has helped bloat his career BABIP to .330.
In their most recent write-up of Hendriks (prior to the 2011 campaign), Baseball America noted that Hendriks had the ceiling of a No. 3 starter if he could continue to keep his fastball down in the zone to pair with a solid slider and above-average changeup.