The Best Reliever You’ve Never Heard Of: Josh Hader
On Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds, Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers pitched 2 and 2/3 innings, striking out 8 batters, while earning his fourth save of the season. If you’re somewhat decent at math, you can count that all of the outs recorded by Hader came via the strikeout.
Who is this guy you ask? Simply put, Hader is the next great MLB reliever.
Hader was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 19th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, but he was traded by the O’s in 2013 to the Houston Astros for Bud Norris. Still, Hader’s Astro career didn’t last long as he was moved once again, this time to the Brew Crew for center fielder Carlos Gomez.
Due to how well he has performed in the majors, it looks very unlikely Hader gets dealt once again.
Originally pitching in the minors as a starter, Milwaukee shifted Hader to the MLB bullpen on June 11, 2017 after he posted a 5.37 ERA in 12 starts for their triple-a affiliate. Once up in the bigs, the 6’3″ lefty started carving up hitters.
In 47 and 2/3 innings last year, Hader struck out 68 batters. That helped him become the owner of a 2.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
But so far in 2018, Hader has been even better. In 18 innings pitched, Hader has struck out 39 batters, while walking 5, and only giving up 4 hits and 2 runs. That adds up to a 0.50 WHIP and a 1.00 ERA.
What makes Hader so good is his funky windup, wipeout slider, and fastball that has reached up to 100 miles per hour. His arsenal is similar to that of Cleveland Indians bullpen ace Andrew Miller. And as you can see from the Tweet below, I’m not lying.
How good is Josh Hader?
Here's Hader buckling Joey Votto on an outside Slider. 😳😱 pic.twitter.com/uDQsFAZsRL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 1, 2018
The 24-year-old can also fulfill a similar multi-inning role that Miller has because of his prior experience as a starter. That allows Milwaukee to bring this weapon out for more than just the one inning of work that we typically see and, based on his performance against Cincy, it looks like he is made for it.
No one has really heard Hader because he is just a plain old lefty reliever on the small market Brewers, but if he continues this success every MLB fan will know his name.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)