Milwaukee Brewers: The frustrating success of Josh Hader
By Trevor Hooth
Without a doubt Josh Hader has the highest ceiling of any young pitcher in the majors. The Milwaukee Brewers lefty will have a stud pitcher, it is just a question of where.
The start Hader got off to since being called up to the Milwaukee Brewers has been fantastic. He is getting the job done and showing why the organization is justifiably high on him. While the hope is that he will blossom into a top tier starting pitcher, his walk rate could hold him back.
As it stands now, Hader can be an Andrew Miller type arm in the middle of the bullpen. That means he can be used in any situation for multiple innings. Or the hard throwing lefty can become a closer. But it stands to reason that a high walk rate will not translate to success in the starting rotation.
Through just 13 innings as an MLB pitcher he has walked 11 batters, which leads to a 7.62 BB/9. His last two seasons in Triple A, Hader had a BB/9 of 4.70 and 5.37 respectively. Before he was hovering in the low three range for the most part.
That being said, this guy is electric. Part of the reason he walks so many is because his ball moves a ton. It will be a learning process to control the movement. But he is hard to hit. In 2017 he has given up only one run and three hits. His batting average on balls in play is .083, but with 15 strikeouts that comes with a small sample size.
Hader started the year as the top left handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. Someone will work with him to bring that walk rate down. And when they do, watch out. He is obviously something special, just young. Coming from the left side, with his arm angle, the movement will be there on his fastball. Add that to his wipeout slider and he becomes a scary good talent.
It is no secret that he is good. There is no secret that his walks need to come down. But it is frustrating to watch him be so dominant while he is in the zone. The thought of how completely dominant he could be without the walks is astounding.
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The future of Josh Hader is in the hands of Josh Hader. If he gets the walks under control then he has the potential to be a perennial Cy Young candidate for the Milwaukee Brewers. If not, he has still proven to be a great success in the bullpen. At least to this point in his young career.