The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation is in a bad spot. Zach Davies is rocking a 5.80 ERA. Wily Peralta has a 6.08 ERA. Chase Anderson’s ERA for May is over 6.00. Jimmy Nelson and Matt Garza have been the Brewers two most reliable starters for a few weeks. Read that last sentence again.
With the current pitching rotation struggling on almost all sides, is it time for Milwaukee Brewers prospect Josh Hader to get the call?
Read any write up, listen to an interview with any scout, or actually watch Hader in action, they’ll all tell you the same story. Josh Hader has fantastic hair and absolutely electric stuff. Some of the pitches that come out of his left hand you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.
But he’s not quite ready to save the season for the Milwaukee Brewers just yet. At least not as a starting pitcher.
What’s Hader working on at Triple-A?
Hader is under instructions to work on very specific skills at Triple-A, even if he has to sacrifice his numbers. It’s clear that his breaking stuff is a work in progress, and his command waivers at times. Developing his curve or slider is absolutely paramount, as he needs more than a fastball and change-up to be effective as a starter.
How are Hader’s results?
As far as the hard numbers go, Hader owns a 4.20 ERA at Colorado Springs. An ERA over 4.00 really isn’t the end of the world considering the thin air he has to work in. What’s concerning about Hader are his strikeout and walk totals, and the number of homers he’s surrendered.
He owns 36 K’s and 24 walks in 40 2/3 innings so far this season. His K/9 is only 7.97, and his BB/9 is an unsightly 5.31. He’s also allowed nine homers already this season after allowing six total between two levels in 2016.
Hader is known for generating whiff swings that result in K’s with his electric stuff. He also occasionally misses the zone four times in an at bat and allowing a hitter to reach for free. It’s who he is.
The strikeouts are down because he’s working on his breaking stuff. He’s still the same guy who was posting an 11.0+ K/9 in 2016 and 2015. He’s following a different approach to develop a part of his skillset that’s lacking. The increase in walks couple with the sudden homer-itis is a concern.
Hader will likely be in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform by the time September callups start, but his role is still unclear. Scouts have been whispering that he’s better suited for a relief role, but the Brewers appear set on keeping him in the rotation until he absolutely proves he doesn’t have a Major League future there. He may already be at that point, and a role in the bullpen may be the next stop instead of Milwaukee.