The Milwaukee Brewers called up Josh Hader on Friday. The left-hander will finally make his long awaited major league debut.
Hader has been well-traveled since the Baltimore Orioles made him a 19th-round draft pick in 2012. A year later he was sent to Houston in the Bud Norris deal, and then was shipped of by the Astros as part of the Carlos Gomez trade. Hader seems to have finally found a home in Milwaukee.
He’s good size for a pitcher, standing at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds. He’s long had an awkward delivery. While adding deception to his pitches and making him a strikeout artist, it has also made some question his place on a roster, whether it be in the rotation or the bullpen.
Hader was incredible in Double-A last season. He went 2-1 over 11 starts, posting a 0.95 ERA, striking out 73 and walking 19 over 57 innings. Hader was promoted to the Colorado Sky Sox, and it has been a struggle ever since.
He finished out 2016 going 1-7 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.43 WHIp over 14 Triple-A starts. It was his first taste of the thin airs of the PCL, so since he was able to keep his strikeout rate up, there wasn’t much concern.
This year hasn’t been much better. Hader was 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA at the time of his call up. His strikeouts however are at a career low, while his walks are at a career high. His 8.83 strikeouts-per-nine are particularly alarming from a guy who tosses double-digit strikeouts-per-nine with relative ease.
Age 22, originally drafted by Orioles in 19th round in 2012, treaded to Astros, then traded to Brewers; 3.29 ERA in 126 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with 161/55 K/BB, 101 hits; persistently excellent strikeout ratios at every level; fastball 93-97 combined with plus slider and delivery funk makes him tough to square up; change-up has made enough progress that I think he can remain a starter; inconsistent command remains biggest problem but he may very well put up better numbers in the majors than he does at Colorado Springs. ETA 2017.
Hader is particularly strong against lefties, with his slider a big-time weapon against them. Since the starters have already been announced for Milwaukee for the next few days, one can assume Hader will be used out of the pen in situational appearances at first. Should he excel in the role, expect the 23-year-old to become a fixture.