Josh Hader is one of those players that you don’t question whether he’s going to be good or not. It’s more of the “is he going to be better than last season” question. Nothing will top the 37 saves he got in 2019, but that was in a full 162 game season. Hader pitched in 75 ⅔ innings last season, which is the second-highest in his career. Did he do better than last season? It’s difficult to compare because of the 60 games played, but what he accomplished was nothing short of greatness.
Hit-less through how many?
The simple answer is 11 and two-thirds. Josh Hader didn’t give up any hits in the first 11 ⅔ innings of the season. There was a hiccup towards the end of his streak though, but this is almost unheard of. He blew a save before giving up a hit. How? A five-walk game against Pittsburgh, that’s how. Five walks accounted for two runs, and a blown save. Even with minor scuffs, pitching 11 ⅔ consecutive innings of hitless baseball in 19 innings is pretty darn good.
What worked best for Hader?
In previous seasons Hader struggled to mix his pitches. It led opponents to sit on his fastball and knock it out of the park; when he didn’t blow a heater right past them. In 2019 the Brewers’ lefty threw his fastball 84.1 percent of the time. What pitch made up the other half? A slider, which he threw at 15.4 percent of the time in 2019. That’s what worked so well for him this year is the addition of throwing his slider more. Hader’s pitch mix was more of an even scale this year than last as he threw the slider 32.3 percent of the time. What also worked best for Hader was his ability to finish games as a closer should. Hader finished the season with the most saves by a National League pitcher with 13.
Survived another year
There’s no denying that Josh Hader’s future on the Brewers is questionable. His one year, $4.1 million contract is up and he is arbitration eligible this offseason. With a lower budget for the offseason, who knows where all of the money will be allocated. Like David Stearns has said, it doesn’t hurt to listen to offers because the return will be well worth it. On the other hand, my Brewers loving heart would be crushed to see Hader elsewhere.