After a strong 2017 performance in his rookie year, left-handed reliever Josh Hader has built on that and has had an even better 2018.
Hader’s responsibilities increased at the beginning of the season when Corey Knebel was put on the DL. Hader stepped into the closer role with a much heavier work load and did not disappoint. Between April and May, Hader threw 33 innings and gave up just four earned runs.
When pitching at his best, which is quite often, Hader is almost unhittable and could be considered the best left-handed reliever in the league. Between his fastball that can reach the upper 90s, a curve ball that takes a nose dive at the plate, and the way he’s able to locate pitches, Hader is one of the toughest pitchers to make contact off of.
Hader has shown his ability to go more than one inning for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has appeared in 53 games this season but has pitched in 79 innings. This gives manager Craig Counsell a lot of flexibility in his bullpen when he knows that his best pitcher can give him more than one inning of work.
Over those 79 innings, Hader has an ERA of 2.28, has given up just 34 hits and 20 earned runs. In addition, he has a WHIP of just 0.797 and has recorded 140 strike outs this season. Both of which are best in the NL amongst relievers. With such a low WHIP and such a high strike out number, Hader has allowed very few base runners and is making quick work of the batters he faces.
As good as Hader has been in 2018, perhaps his most dominant performances have come in September. So far he has faced 47 batters and has struck out 27 of them. This includes a stretch where he struck out 17 of the 20 batters he faced, including tying an MLB record by recording 15 consecutive outs via a strike out.
Josh Hader’s dominance on the mound is undeniable.