Josh Hader was one of the most popular Brewers players, both in the clubhouse and among fans. It was truly a disappointment to many when Milwaukee traded him to the San Diego Padres. Despite owner Mark Attansio stating that the move was not about cutting costs, many remain firm that he is too stingy. However, a dive into Josh Hader’s numbers compared to Devin Williams’ career stats so far (four seasons) are quite revealing. Could it be possible the team was saving money in the future in order to sign the better reliever?
Josh Hader Through Four MLB Seasons
On the surface, it may appear as if Josh Hader was the better pitcher through his four seasons with the Brewers. From 2017-2020, Hader was 12-11 and logged 62 saves. He also made two All-Star teams. His pitching stats were not too shabby either: 2.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 171 ERA+, 2.85 FIP.
Devin Williams Through Four MLB Seasons
It seems hard to believe that Devin Williams has already made appearances across four MLB seasons. During that time, he is 16-5 with 10 saves. The pitching stats, though, indicate that he is off to an even better start to his career than Josh Hader: 1.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 220 ERA+, 2.23 FIP.
For those unfamiliar, ERA+ is an advanced stat that measures a pitcher’s ERA across the entire league. It also takes outside influences, such as ballparks and teams faced, into consideration. Whereas the best ERAs in MLB are low numbers, the best ERA+ stats are high numbers. In 2020, by the way, Devin Williams had an ERA+ of 1375. FIP stands for fielding independent pitching and measures and pitcher’s effectiveness. Like ERA, the lower this number the better.
Does Sample Size Matter?
As the title of this article indicates, we are comparing the first four seasons of Devin Williams and Josh Hader. However, their body of work is not as similar as it may seem. Through four seasons, Josh Hader pitched in 172 games and 223.2 innings. Devin Williams, on the other hand, has pitched in 143 games and 140 innings.
The reason for this discrepancy, of course, is that Hader often pitched more than one inning in his appearances early in his career. Additionally, the 2020 season was cut short for both players due to COVID-19.
When it comes down to it, the number of innings and games can perhaps make Hader’s slightly higher (but still great) numbers understandable. However, the fact of the matter is that Devin Williams is off to a better start than Hader was, and could have an even brighter future.