Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Josh Hader is still working out of the bullpen. Should he continue in his current role or transition into the rotation? What are his splits like? Where does his future really lie?
Josh Hader has been as good as advertised working out of the bullpen. His fastball is electric and his slider is devastating. Hader even mixes in the occasional change-up. Is it time to move him into the starting five, or is he best served working out of the bullpen?
How Is Hader as a Reliever?
Occasional lapses in control aside, Josh Hader has been one of the best options in the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. He usually works more than an inning, keeps the opposition off the scoreboard, and provides a bridge to Anthony Swarzak and Corey Knebel.
In 22 appearances out of the bullpen, Hader owns a 1.20 ERA. He has fanned 39 in 30 innings of work. Hader has only allowed one homer, but he has surrendered 19 walks. The good news is that Hader is good enough to pitch over the occasional base on balls. When a reliever is capable of striking out more than a batter per inning, he can allow a free pass or two and not end up paying for it. Hader still needs to develop his change-up, but he has proven that the hype is very real.
Even more importantly, Hader doesn’t have a platoon split. The numbers show that he’s equally effective against lefties and righties. He owns a .575 OPS against right-handed batters and a .474 OPS against lefties. He can dominate against hitters on both sides of the plate.
Should Hader Move Into the Rotation?
Not yet? It’s clear that the Milwaukee Brewers still view Hader’s long term role as in the starting rotation. However, it’s probably not a great idea to toss him into a start in the middle of a pennant race. He should continue to rack up innings out of the bullpen. Giving Hader a chance to learn in a role that he’s currently succeeding at will allow him to work his way into a starting role, while helping the Major League roster.
Hader is currently the only left-handed reliever on the Major League roster. That will likely change when Brent Suter returns, but for now, he’s their only lefty. That really just confirms that Hader is pitching where he’s needed most at this point.