Josh Hader has had an illustrious career so far with the Brewers. Over the past four seasons, he has won the NL Reliever of the year three times, losing only to teammate Devin Williams in 2020. He is without question one of, if not the best, reliever in baseball.
The interesting aspect about Hader’s career so far is that seemingly every year his role has varied. After a very solid first season in 2017, Hader became more well known across the league in 2018. That year he won his first NL Reliever of the Year award despite just recording 12 saves. Rather, he was a strikeout machine serving in the “Andrew Miller Role”.
In 2019, Hader took over as the primary closer. Even as the closer, he often times was still asked to work multiple innings per outing. During the COVID shortened 2020 season, Hader was strictly a single inning relief pitcher and this carried over to 2021 as well.
As we look ahead to the 2022 season, Josh Hader very well could become the Brewers franchise’s new all-time saves leader.
Currently, Hader has the fourth most saves as a Brewer with 96. Ahead of him is Rollie Fingers with 97 saves, John Axford with 106, and the current franchise leader Dan Plesac with 133. This means 37 more saves from Hader is needed to tie Plesac and 38 to overtake him.
38 saves in a single season would be a new personal best for Hader, but that does not mean it is not unreasonable. In 2019 he recorded 37 saves and in 2021 34 saves. The Brewers are expected to be competitive again so Hader should get plenty of opportunities to pile up the saves.
There are a few caveats to Hader getting a chance at the record. Should the duration of next season get altered by the lockout, that could influence Hader’s ability to become the franchise’s new saves leader. Additionally, given the amount of rumors always circulating about Josh Hader trades, it is also possible that he does even not get the chance to chase the record this year. Hopefully, neither of those scenarios play out.
In an ideal scenario, Hader will over take Plesac for the saves record. Hader has dazzled us with his performance for many years, so it would great to see him rewarded for it.
Additionally, amongst the Brewers franchise leaderboard, Craig Counsell may become the new managerial wins leader in 2022. Counsell has instilled a winning culture during his tenure and his closer Josh Hader has slammed the door on many of those wins. It would be great for both of them to get their names in the records book in 2022.