Last night, the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen ace Josh Hader made the Cincinnati Reds look pathetic. Think that’s an exaggeration? Take a look at just a few of the examples below.
The second-year lefty needed to get eight outs to close out the game and he got all eight via strikeout. Hader is the first pitcher in MLB history to do that in a relief appearance. There have been other pitchers who have struck out eight in three innings of relief, but NEVER eight in less than three innings.
This one game is historic, but so was Hader’s April.
It's getting insane. No pitcher in *MLB history* has ever posted a K/9 over 18 over an entire month with at least 15 IP. Josh Hader finishes April at 19.5— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) May 1, 2018
Hader’s numbers are strictly outrageous. In 18 innings, Hader has walked only five batters while striking out 39! That’s more than two per inning. Of his 54 outs in April, only 15 were on balls in play.
Hader’s WHIP sits at an even 0.500. What’s more outrageous? Advanced run analytics say he’s BETTER than his run prevention numbers! His earned run average sits at 1.00 after yesterday’s outing, but his FIP at 0.41 and his DRA is 0.92.
Of course, we all know why he’s dominating. His fastball and slider combination is nearly unhittable. Only four of Hader’s pitches have been turned into hits this season. That’s four pitches out of the 284 he has thrown in 2018. Only 90 of those pitches have gone for balls.
Hitters are missing at his slider at ridiculous rates, especially when it’s outside of the zone. Heading into the series against the Reds, hitters swung and missed at more than 40%. You can see Joey Votto — one of the game’s best hitters — strike out on a slider in the dirt. More than 60% of hitters have been struck out by the fastball and slider each.
If you’re a Brewers fan, it’s time you sit back and recognize what you’re witnessing. Josh Hader was the best relief pitcher, possibly the best pitcher in baseball in April. He just turned 24 on April 7. We could be seeing the coming of one of the most elite relievers to ever play the game in a time when relievers are more essential to a team than ever. He gives Milwaukee a multi-inning edge that no other team in baseball has, and he’s all ours.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, and Brooks Baseball