In Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the D-Backs, Milwaukee Brewers prospect Josh Hader made his first appearance out of the bullpen. If his initial results show why he was called up, but also why he wasn’t added to the rotation right away.
What Did Hader Do Right?
For starters, he managed to keep the D-Backs off the scoreboard despite walking two batters. His first was due to wildness, the second was intentional.
He averaged 94.3 MPH on his fastball, and 78.5 MPH on his slider. A difference of 15 MPH between the two pitches is right where he should be, and he showed good movement on both.
He also recorded the final out of the inning by striking out D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb looking. Lamb was clearly expecting the slider, and didn’t move as the heater blew past him. This was a great way for Hader to end his first inning at the highest level of competition.
What Can Hader Work On?
Command. It was clear that he was either nervous from the beginning or annoyed that he was squeezed on his first pitch. His first pitch was clearly a strike according to PitchFX, but the rookie didn’t get the call, and walked D-backs left fielder Gregor Blanco on five pitches.
He didn’t use his still developing changeup. Whether he works on it on the side, or actually tries it in a game, Hader needs to get his changeup sorted before he joins the rotation.
He also got behind D-Backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt and Brewers manager Craig Counsell chose to put him on intentionally. There was a non-zero chance that Goldschmidt would have hit the next offering about 650 feet if he hadn’t been put on.
What Can The Brewers Expect From Hader?
Given a chance, Hader has the mentality and repertoire to dominate in a relief role. He proved that while he has a lot to work on, there’s electric stuff that profiles well in a relief role. Hader won’t escape unscathed every time, but he made it through his debut without getting lit. That’s a huge step in the right direction, for both Hader and the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild.