Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader had a historic 2018 season, but are there concerns in the underlying metrics? Let’s dig into the numbers and find out…
Josh Hader posted a 2.43 ERA in 81 1/3 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. He struck out 143(!) batters, walked only 30, and was tagged for only nine homers. He worked 55 games, managed a 6-1 record, and saved 12 games. All of these numbers are fantastic, but is there reason for concern in the underlying metrics?
Which numbers are troublesome?
Hader earned his first All-Star Game appearance with a 1.50 ERA in 48 innings in the first half of the season. He posted a 3.78 ERA in the second half.
Hader struck out 98 batters in the first half, but only managed 54 K’s in 33 1/3 innings in the second half.
He wasn’t quite the same pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers after the All-Star break as he was in the first half.
Should these numbers really worry anyone?
Actually, no. While it may appear on the surface that Hader wore down, he really didn’t. Hader actually threw harder in September and October than he did in April.
Hader averaged 95.51 MPH on his fastball in April, but he averaged 95.97 MPH on his heater in September, and 96.69 MPH in October.
He also threw 10 innings in the playoffs, and posted a 0.00 ERA. He struck out 16, walked only one, and gave up only five hits in seven playoff appearances. Hader may have stumbled in the dog days of summer, but he dominated in the fall. Any concerns about a hangover into 2019, or struggling in 2018 simply don’t add up.
He gave up a few extra homers at the end of the 2018 season, but it’s such a small sample size that it barely registers. He didn’t throw too many sliders during his historic run. He didn’t get overused by Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell. He just had a few fly balls find their way over the fence. Hader is fine, and he should continue to serve as the Brewers late inning hammer in 2019 and beyond.