JOSH Ronald HADER
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   LHP
Home: N/A Team:   BREWERS
Height: 6' 3" Bats:   L
Weight: 185 Throws:   L
DOB: 4/7/1994 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 71  
Birth City: Millersville, MD
Draft: Orioles #19 - 2012 - Out of high school (MD)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2012 GCL GCL-Orioles   12 20.1 12 35 7 0 0 0 2 2 0   2.66
2012 NYP ABERDEEN   5 8.1 2 13 2 0 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2013 MWL QUAD CITIES   5 22.1 14 16 12 5 0 0 0 2 0   3.22
2013 SAL DELMARVA   17 85 67 79 42 17 0 0 0 3 6   2.65
2014 TL CORPUS CHRISTI   5 20 16 24 16 4 0 0 0 1 1   6.30
2014 CAL LANCASTER   22 103.1 76 112 38 15 0 0 2 9 2   2.70
2015 SL BILOXI   7 38.2 27 50 11 7 0 0 0 1 4   2.79
2015 TL CORPUS CHRISTI   17 65.1 60 69 24 10 0 0 1 3 3   3.17
2016 PCL COLORADO SPRINGS   14 69 63 88 36 14 0 0 0 1 7   5.22
2016 SL BILOXI   11 57 38 73 19 11 0 0 0 2 1   0.95
2017 PCL COLORADO SPRINGS   12 52 49 51 31 12 0 0 0 3 4   5.37
2017 NL BREWERS   35 47.2 25 68 22 0 0 0 0 2 3 0.156 2.08
2018 NL BREWERS $557.00 55 81.1 36 143 30 0 0 0 12 6 1 0.132 2.43
2019 NL BREWERS $688.00 61 75.2 41 138 20 0 0 0 37 3 5 0.155 2.62
2020 NL BREWERS $1,519.00 21 19 8 31 10 0 0 0 13 1 2 0.123 3.79
2021 NL BREWERS   60 59 25 102 24 0 0 0 34 4 2 0.127 1.23
Personal
  • Being from Old Mill High School in Millersville, MD, Hader grew up around the Orioles. In his senior year at Old Mill, Hader had 125 strikeouts on his way to a 10-0 record and 0.30 ERA. He also hit over .400.

    Instead of attending Anne Arundel Community College in his home county as he originally planned, Hader signed a contract with the Orioles after he was drafted by the Orioles.

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    In 2012, Hader got drafted by the Orioles (see Transactions below).

  • The Orioles put Josh on a weight-gaining program and a long-toss program. They also straightened out his delivery.

  • In 2013, Baseball America rated Hader as the 19th-best prospect in the Orioles organization.

    After being acquired by the Astros, he was #14 in their organization in the winter before 2014 spring training. He was at #10 in the spring of 2015—and #11 a year later, early in 2016, after moving to the Marlins organization.

    After being acquired by the Brewers, he was second-best prospect in the Brewers organization, behind only OF Lewis Brinson in 2017.

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  • In 2014, Josh was named the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Hader went 9-2 with a California League-best 2.70 ERA while becoming the first player in Lancaster history to be named Cal League pitcher of the year.

  • June 9, 2017: The Brewers called up Hader, the top lefthanded-pitching prospect in baseball, from Triple-A Colorado Springs, his first Major League call-up. Hader, rated the Brewers' No. 3 prospect and No. 33 overall by MLBPipeline.com, was brought up for Milwaukee's game against the D-backs at Chase Field . 

    "It's exciting," Hader said. "It's one of my dreams come true. You just take it all in and enjoy it." As for Hader's role with the team, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said that he plans to use the southpaw out the bullpen, for now, although the club still projects him as a starter moving forward. "We're definitely going to use Josh out of the bullpen, and then we'll see how that evolves," Counsell said. "We pitched him [in the Minors] two innings the last couple of times. We shortened him up a little bit. "We think this is the best way for him to have a quick impact. We'll see how it goes, but the long-term [goal] of the organization is to get him back to starting."  (B Bloom - Mlb.com - June 9, 2017)

  • During 2018 spring training, Hader experimented with wearing contact lenses in place of his trademark prescription goggles. “That’s what spring training is for—to work on things,” Hader quipped.

  • July 2018: Hader was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game.

    TROUBLE WITH TWEETS

  • July 18, 2018: Hader will be required to go through sensitivity training after years-old racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced during the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball said. MLB announced that the commissioner's office would require Hader to participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives in addition to the sensitivity training. In a statement, Brewers GM David Stearns said the team would continue to work through the issue with Hader. 

  • July 20, 2018: A tearful Josh Hader addressed Brewers teammates to apologize and explain as best he could the offensive tweets—sent as a teenager—that were exposed during the All-Star Game. Three hours later, as the Brewers prepared to begin the second half against the Dodgers at Miller Park, those teammates had his back. As Hader stood before local media for the first time, a group that included the Brewers' four African-American players—Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, Eric Thames and Keon Broxton—filed in behind Hader as he answered questions.

    "This isn't me. I hope that people who I've touched and came across, they know who I really am," Hader said. "I've made mistakes. I'm not perfect. I've grown as a person. Baseball really helped me grow." The 24-year-old expressed similar sentiments in a team meeting following several hours with MLB vice president Billy Bean, who has counseled players in times of crisis as Ambassador for Inclusion. Their sit-down began Hader's league-mandated sensitivity training.

    Hader said he did not remember writing the series of racist, sexist and homosexual-related tweets that appeared on his timeline in 2011 and 2012, before he was drafted by the Orioles. "I have regret for mistakes that I made in the past, and that doesn't resemble the person that I am now," Hader said. "That's not my beliefs at all. And it's tough, because for people that I've hurt by those tweets, that's not something I want to do."

    Asked again what had changed in the past seven years to change his beliefs, Hader said, "They were never my beliefs. I was young. I was saying stuff out of just ignorance and that's just not what I meant."

    Billy Bean said this would be the start of Hader's sensitivity training. Hader also will participate in MLB's diversity and inclusion initiatives. "[I met] a young man who is in a tremendous amount of pain, and I sympathize for him tremendously," Bean said. "I was really proud of him today for how he wanted to convey that he feels like he let his teammates down. He wants to repair that more than anything. 

    "I was really convinced after a couple of hours today—much longer than we expected—that his experience as an athlete and a professional in an integrated and diverse environment has created the person he is today." Bean added, "We can't fix everything today."

    The teammates who spoke out in support of Hader included All-Star outfielder Christian Yelich, who had the locker next to Hader's at Nationals Park for the 2018 All-Star Game. Along with Cain, Jeffress and Jesus Aguilar, they traveled with Hader on a quiet flight home from Washington.

    "Everything that you have known about the guy, every interaction, there has been no sign of anything like that," Yelich said. "It's something that happened and needs to be addressed. His commentary in those tweets was tough. Where we're at today in this society is far past that, and he regrets it. As teammates we need to acknowledge that it was wrong, but we also need to be there to support him because he's been there for us."

    Brewers manager Craig Counsell characterized Hader's address to teammates as "heartfelt." "He's emotional, very remorseful," Counsell said. "In [the clubhouse], really, he's asking for support. He's asking because he's hurting." (A McCalvy - MLB.com - July 20, 2018)

  • July 2019: Hader was asked to represent the Brewers at the All-Star Game, but was replaced by Brandon Woodruff due to back soreness.

  • 2019 season: When looking at the numbers, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell a huge difference between the pitcher Josh Hader was in 2018 versus who he was in 2019. However as with any high profile reliever, there is more to the story than just what the numbers are telling you.

    Hader actually gave up the exact same amount of earned runs (22) in both seasons, but this season he pitched 5.2 fewer innings, meaning his ERA increased slightly from 2.43 to 2.62. That is still all star level, but there was one looming issue with Hader throughout the year: the home run.

    Another aspect of Hader’s season that was much different from 2018 was when he pitched in the game. In 2018, Hader finished just 14 games, and he was rarely used as the main “closer” for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    In 2019, with Corey Knebel down and Jeremy Jeffress never getting back into that role, he was really the only good option for closing games, and he finished 46 games on the mound, which is a significant difference in terms of his role despite the innings and overall numbers being very similar.

    Overall, Brewers fans need to remember how good Hader really is. Despite the home run issues, Hader carried this bullpen through the season, and he is a talent that doesn’t come around in Milwaukee, or in baseball very often. He cannot be taken for granted, but the Brewers also need to continue to develop Hader into the best possible version of himself that he can be, which he is not at right now. (Matt Yeazel - Fansided - Oct. 2019)

  • In 2019, Josh posted the fourth-highest strikeout rate all time (47.8 percent) for a pitcher who worked at least 50 innings. Hader bumped his 2018 season (46.7 percent) down to fifth.
  • Nov. 10, 2019: Baseball had never before had an official star squad that salutes a full season's worth of work the way other major professional sports do. But the results of the voting for the first All-MLB Team finally arrived at the Winter Meetings. The Brewers Hader was named to the first team relief pitching group.

  • 2020 Season: Hader added another very strong season to his already impressive resume.

    While many of the headlines regarding the Brewers bullpen rightfully went to breakout star Devin Williams, Hader continued to be a force to be reckoned with in the closer’s role, leading the National League with 13 saves.

    This is an impressive feat, considering Hader didn’t get as many appearances as Craig Counsell would’ve hoped. Due to the fact that the Brewers were often playing from behind this season and not finding themselves in save situations as much, Hader only appeared in 21 games.

    Much like recent years, Hader was nearly untouchable once he got the count in his favor. He only gave up one hit on an 0-2 count in 2020 (hitters were 4-52 against him in 0-2 counts in 2019), which reflects his ability to control at-bats and not let hitters get comfortable.

     One of the goals for Josh Hader after struggling a bit at the end of 2019 was developing a reliable slider to complement his overpowering fastball, which he did. This helped him be less predictable to hitters who were growing more accustomed to his style.

    Aside from one mess of an outing in an August 29th game against Pittsburgh where Hader lost command of his fastball and proceeded to walk five batters before being pulled, the long-haired lefty was as steady as can be. Opponents were hitless against him until September 5.

    2020 Season Grade: A-  Hader is still just 26 years old, so clearly he should have many years of his prime ahead of him. He made $4.1 million in 2020 in his first round of arbitration, and will be due for a pay raise every year, assuming he continues his high level of play, until he hits the open market in 2024.  (Leo Koenig - Oct. 14, 2020)

  • It was in Biloxi, Miss., sometime in late 2015. Josh Hader had a busy summer between pitching for Team USA in the Pan American Games. And he was traded for the second time in his young professional career, this time from the Astros' organization to the Brewers as part of the blockbuster that sent Carlos Gómez and Mike Fiers to Houston. Looking back now, no move short of the Christian Yelich trade had a bigger impact on the Brewers’ quick transition from rebuilding to contending in about three years.

    At the time, Hader was still a starting pitcher getting grounded in another new system. The Brewers sent their roving pitching coordinator, Chris Hook, to have a look.

    “I remember talking to him in the weight room,” Hook said. “Like, 'Hey man, what have you been doing?' He was like, 'Oh, I was just in the Olympics and I was out there really letting it go as a reliever. Man, that's really, really comfortable for me.' I just remember him back then speaking about throwing in the Olympics and letting it go and, 'Man, that was fun. I really enjoyed that.'” Today, that’s what Hader gets to do. After transitioning him to the bullpen and using him in multiple-inning stints, always with extensive rest between outings, the Brewers slowly watched Hader evolve into what he is now: Essentially, a traditional, one-inning closer. (July 2021)

  • Hader, who occasionally sparred with the club in arbitration as the sides struggled to assign value to his unique usage, has embraced the evolution. And he’s made it work in two important ways. One, he has added strength and durability to his naturally wiry frame over the years to bounce back better from outing to outing, which is imperative for a pitcher in a closer’s role. Two, he has become more efficient with increased usage of two off-speed pitches—a slider that was long part of his repertoire but became a significantly bigger part of his arsenal during the shortened 2020 season, and a changeup with which Hader had tinkered for years and years, but finally was honed in 2021.

    So, a pitcher that was the NL Reliever of the Year in 2018 and 2019 has become a totally different pitcher. His fastball usage went from 82.9 percent in 2019, according to Statcast, to 67.7 percent in 2020 and 65.2 percent entering the Brewers’ final series of the first half in 2021. His slider usage, meanwhile, went from 15.5 percent in 2019 to 32.3 percent in 2020 back down to 27.8 percent in 2021 because of the introduction of that changeup, which he is throwing seven percent of the time.

    And the results continue to be excellent. Hader became the third pitcher in Brewers history to begin a season 20-for-20 in save opportunities before experiencing his first blown save in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Mets. José Peraza’s tying home run was the first homer off Hader all year. “Completely different,” Hader said of his approach to pitching in 2021.

    “There's a process to everything we do, the way we learn about this game and the way we have to adjust because there's so much information out on us now that they know what to expect. At the end of the day, you have to try and use everything you can to your advantage because these guys are good enough to sit on that one pitch -- the fastball was my one pitch, but now I'm able to use different pitches to be able to make that fastball look a little bit better. I think that's the cool thing. That's how you stay here as long as you can, is adapting to the league itself.”

    Part of this is a matter of technology. High-speed cameras and radar today allow pitchers to get instant feedback on every pitch, even when they are at home throwing in the backyard during the offseason. The tech has evolved right alongside Hader, such that a process of developing a pitch by feel or feedback from hitters’ swings can now be done by viewing spin rate and spin access and velocity, right on the spot.

    “Even back then, the changeup was something that he was working on,” said Hook, referring to their first meeting in Biloxi. “But now with the Edgertronic, with the TrackMan, we can really see if it's good or not. And that's what really took him forward.”

    The key, Hook said, is that Hader bought in. Hook thinks of Hader’s evolution like this: “It’s just being stubborn to be great.”

    That stubbornness is the common thread between the Brewers’ quartet of All-Star pitchers, Hader and starters Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. Hader and Woodruff found success early. Peralta and Burnes took more of a winding path to the Midsummer Classic, especially Burnes, who achieved as a reliever in 2018, struggled as a starter in 2019, then had to remake his arsenal and his mental approach to rediscover success in 2020 and 2021.

    But Hader’s desire to evolve came against the backdrop of the greatest immediate success. He didn’t debut in the Major Leagues until midway through the 2017 season, but already he’s tied with Dan Plesac for the most career All-Star appearances, three, for a Brewers reliever. The record for All-Star Game berths for a Brewers pitcher is four, by Ben Sheets.

    “It's really amazing to think that Josh Hader is getting better,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We see this improvement every season and I just think that's such a credit to him as a professional, that he achieved great things immediately when he walked into this league, and yet he still found ways to get better. I really admire that. It's a great trait that he has and that's why he's going to be in the league for a really, really long time.”

    Said Hook: “It's just like, he never stops. Some people, when they have success here, they don't want to change anything. These guys don't think that way. It is always looking to get better.” (A McCalvy - MLB.com - July 12, 2021) 

    July 2021: Hader was chosen to be part of the pitching staff for the All-Star Game.

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2012: Hader was selected by the Orioles in 19th round, out of Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland. He signed for $40,000 via Orioles scout Dean Albany.

  • July 31, 2013: The Astros sent P Bud Norris to the Orioles; acquiring outfielder L.J. Hoes, Hader; and a Competitive Balance pick.

  • July 30, 2015: The Brewers sent Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez to Houston in exchange for four prospects and international signing slot No. 76. The four prospects going to the Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser, OF Brett Phillips, RF Domingo Santana, and LHP Josh Hader.

  • Oct 10, 2019: Club officials confirmed that Hader will qualify for arbitration as a Super Two with two years and 115 days of Major League service time. This means he is in line for a significant raise from the $687,600 he earned in 2019. 

  • 2020: Josh signed for $4.1 million for one year.
  • Jan 15, 2021: Hader and the Brewers avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract for $6.7 million.
Pitching
  • Hader has a 91-99 mph FASTBALL with impressive late life. He also has a sharp-breaking 79-83 mph SLIDER, that both lefthanded and righthanded hitters have trouble making contact with; it grades out at a plus 60. And he has what has become a decent 84-87 mph circle-CHANGEUP, flashing average and getting lots of Ks with it. 

    Josh has made it a focus to make sure his changeup comes out of his hand at the same angle as his mid-90s heater, leading many hitters to either watch it go by for a strike or swing while flailing out on their front foot,

    The slider can be dangerous when it comes out of the relatively low-three-quarters angle, sidearm delivery, but Hader's deceptive delivery is a big part of what works for him. And in 2016, he made it even harder to track his pitches by moving to the first-base side of the rubber. (Spring 2017)

  • "He needs to find a feel where he can get through the ball and create consistent spin," Biloxi pitching coach Chris Hook said in 2016. "There are times he tries to steer or manipulate the baseball a little too much. He brings a lot to the mound as a naturally gifted athlete. We just need to nudge toward some of the smaller things.

    "He's tall, long, turns his back to hitters, so it's hard to see," Hook said. "His arm angle is different. There are so many things that make him different from your ordinary lefthander. We all try to get guys commanding the baseball, but he just brings something different. You take the little different angle, the different delivery and add the stuff component on top of that, then it becomes spectacular. You just don't see the length, angle, funkiness, stuff from that side." (May 2016)

  • 2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 81.4% of the time; Change 7.4% of the time; and Slider 11.2% of the time.

  • 2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 79.5% of the time, his Change less than 1%; and Slider 20.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 95.3 mph, Change 86.9, and Slider 82.5 mph.

  • 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 84% of the time, his Change less than 1%; and Slider 15.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96 mph, Change 89.6, and Slider 82.1 mph.

  • 2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 67.9% of the time and his Slider 32.1% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 95 mph and Slider 80.8 mph.

  • Unconventional delivery: Hader sets up with his thin body pointed at a 45-degree angle to home plate.  He then winds with a leg kick and has a long, loose arm action. He has a short pause at the top of his delivery that keeps baserunners honest. He gets a lot of deception from his funky, low three-quarters/nearly sidearm delivery.

    Josh hides the ball well from that low arm slot, so hitters just don't get a good look.

    Scouts compare Josh with Chris Sale and Randy Johnson. He made a few mechanical changes during the 2015 season.

    “Halfway through the season, I changed where I throw on the mound. I moved to the first-base side a little bit. It made my slider sharper, gave me a better angle going into the back foot of the righties. And it made it easier to throw back-door (breaking balls). It also gave me better command of my fastball, being able to throw to both sides of the plate.” (August 2015)

  • Hader's funky sidearm delivery indeed is devilish on lefty hitters. But with a plus fastball and improving slider, Hader has the makings of a starter, and the Brewers see no reason to convert him to relief at this point. (June, 2016)

  • His stuff is so filthy the Brewers would like him to be a starting pitcher. But he is much more likely to come out of the bullpen, throwing lively moving heat.

  • Hader knows how to finish his pitches with good extension and follow through.

    Rick Peterson, the Orioles' director of pitching development, worked with Hader to smooth out his mechanics and refine his delivery. Peterson introduced Hader to a long-toss program that was more advanced than anything he had participated in as an amateur.

    Hader is extremely effective against left-handed hitters. That may eventually lead to a role in the bullpen.  Hader is a projectable pitcher with the probability of gaining more weight and strength as he continues to mature. Because of his arm strength and good mechanics, the Astros may certainly elect to continue developing him as a starting pitcher.

    Hader builds his mechanics around his physical presence. Because of his tall and lanky physique, Hader is often compared to Chris Sale. At 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, Hader has a slender, wiry frame that allows him to pitch downhill. Like Sale, Hader hides the ball well, giving the hitter very little time to see and follow the flight of the baseball out of his hand. It is a cross-fire delivery that adds deception.

  • May 13, 2014: On a patch of the Mojave Desert in the city of Lancaster, Calif., five Minor League baseball players shared a big yellow house surrounded by dry brush and tumbleweeds. It has two stories, six bedrooms and a modest patio.

    And now, it comes with a no-hitter.

    Three of those roommates—Josh Hader, J.D. Osborne and Daniel Minor—combined to throw a no-no for the Lancaster JetHawks, the Astros' Class A Advanced club in the California League. And a day later, the trio was still smiling.

    "I'm still not over it," Osborne said, sitting in front of his clubhouse locker. "It was just an awesome feeling. Especially with us being really close and being roommates. I mean, how often does that happen—three roommates all pitch on the same night, let alone throw a no-hitter? It was pretty cool."

    "We eat together, go shopping together, go golfing together, do everything," said Minor. "I'm sure not many roommates have done this together. I don't know if you can find another [instance]."

    The day began like any other, with the three pitchers—along with their two other JetHawks roommates, reliever Mitch Lambson and outfielder Marc Wik—locking up the house and piling into the truck they all share. When they left their gravel driveway for their second home, the JetHawks' modest ballpark that's five minutes and three freeway exits away, they were on the road to history.

    The JetHawks were opening a three-game series that night with the Bakersfield Blaze, the team with the best record in the California League. Bakersfield's starting pitcher was Ben Lively, entering with a 6-0 record and a 0.63 ERA.

    Opposing him for Lancaster was Hader, the baby-faced 20-year-old who was having probably the best season of any JetHawks pitcher, though he remains the butt of most of the jokes back home.

    "He didn't go to college," Minor explained with a grin. "We're trying to keep him tidy and make him clean and stuff. We have to stay on him a bit."

    Except for a night like Tuesday, when the innings moved along and the Bakersfield hit column remained at zero. That's when the guys began to leave Hader alone, and the dugout fell into silence and superstition.

    Hader, acquired by the Astros from Baltimore in the Bud Norris trade, walked off the mound after the sixth, certainly aware of what he had going. But he also knew that he had reached his predetermined pitch count, and so he shook his head as he headed for the dugout, knowing he wouldn't be able to continue the no-hitter.

    In came Osborne, inheriting a paper-thin 1-0 lead in the seventh.

    "I thought about not blowing the no-hitter for Hader, but as soon as I got on the mound, I just focused," Osborne said. "In between innings was the worst. That's when you think about it."

    Osborne walked a batter in the seventh but got out of the inning by inducing a double play. In the eighth, he retired the side in order. And then in the ninth, in jogged Minor.

    "Yeah, [my heart] was pounding pretty fast," Minor said.

    Hader and Osborne watched from the dugout. Nobody said anything or moved, until a few minutes later, when they exploded, rushing from the dugout as Minor completed the no-no with a strikeout.

    And what of a postgame celebration?

    "We went to In-N-Out," Osborne said.

    And after the burger joint, it was back to the truck and back to that big yellow house.

    "It was the first one we looked at," Osborne said of the home, "and it was cheap."

    "It's straight out of 'Breaking Bad,'" Minor added, showing a picture of it on his cell phone.

    Outside of the house sits an RV that doesn't work, a tree, and little else.

    "But it's really nice on the inside," Osborne promised, "and we all get along." (Josh Gajewski - MLB.com.)

  • Two small adjustments made a big difference for Josh. In the middle of the 2015 season, which saw Hader traded to Milwaukee along with three other prospects for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, the 21-year-old moved from the third base side of the pitching rubber to the first base side, where he had a better angle against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. Hader also altered the grip of his slider, moving his fingers to the seams to create a better feel.

    The combination of subtle changes, he said, "let me attack the zone a lot better."  The result was the finest, and longest, season of his professional career, which made Hader the Brewers prospect with the most helium heading into 2016.  (McCalvy - MLB.com - 2/28/2016)

  • Josh has all the qualities that make a great lefthanded reliever, beginning with his plus fastball and slider, his positioning on the first-base side of the mound and his sidearm delivery.

    But Hader also does well as a starting pitcher. He does a fine job of making in-game adjustments.

    An emphasis has been on tightening the breaking stuff to help with command and to make it harder for hitters to sit on.

    "He needs to find a feel where he can get through the ball and create consistent spin," Biloxi pitching coach Chris Hook said in May, 2016. "There are times he tries to steer or manipulate the baseball a little too much. He brings a lot to the mound as a naturally gifted athlete. We just need to nudge toward some of the smaller things."

    Those natural gifts, though, have been good enough right now to probably get Major League left-handers out on a regular basis in small spurts. 

    "He's tall, long, turns his back to hitters, so it's hard to see," Hook said. "His arm angle is different. There are so many things that make him different from your ordinary left-hander. We all try to get guys commanding the baseball, but he just brings something different. You take the little different angle, the different delivery and add the stuff component on top of that, then it becomes spectacular. You just don't see the length, angle, funkiness, stuff from that side.

    "If you're a big league reliever, you have two pitches you can throw for strikes," Hook said. "If you have three pitches, you can be a long-term starter. I think he has the capability to do that. Can he go through a lineup three times? I think so. If that's the goal and he falls short, that's OK. But you see the competitiveness, the athleticism, and you think he's got every shot to make it." (Sam Dykstra - MiLB.com - 5/06/2016)

  • In 2016, Josh struck out a Southern League-leading 32.7 percent of hitters he faced.

  • April 30, 2018: Josh had a little extra in the tank, so he went out and made history. He hadn't pitched in five days and then struck out a career-high 8 batters in 2.2 innings (8 outs) to close out a 6-5 Brewers victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. 

    "I've never seen a performance like that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "My mouth was wide open watching him. I don't know what to say about Josh. The slider and changeup are becoming weapons." 

    No pitcher had ever struck out eight in an outing of less than three innings. The last pitcher to record a save with more than eight strikeouts was Randy Johnson on Aug. 13, 1996. But that was a four-inning save.

    Only one other time has a pitcher faced no more than nine batters and fanned eight. On May 4, 1981, Ron Davis of the Yankees got a three-inning save against the Angels and threw three perfect innings with 8 Ks. Hader is also the first pitcher to record eight or more outs with all of them coming via strikeout.

    "Fun," Hader said, when asked to describe his performance. "My body was feeling good on that rest. It was nice to really let the fastball eat a little bit. I was in and out of the zone, got some swings and misses."  Hader needed only 37 pitches to plow through the Reds' lineup. He faced nine batters, fanning all but one. The only blemish was a walk to Tucker Barnhart in the eighth.  (Wallner - mlb.com - 4/30/2018)  

  • In 2018, the Baseball America Best Tools Survey of managers, scouts and executives rated Hader as the Best Reliever in the NL.

  • September 22, 2018: Hader recorded 16 consecutive outs via strikeout, an MLB record in the expansion era.

    Hader has now struck out 136 batters, a Major League record for a left-handed reliever, surpassing the mark of John Hiller, who struck out 134 with the Tigers in 1974. Not only did Hader pass Hiller's mark, he did so in just 77 innings, compared to Hiller's 150 innings. (Alan Saunders - MLB.com)

  • 2018: Hader's fastball was named one of the nastiest pitches in baseball by MLB players.

     Hader  had little trouble honing his four-seam fastball in 2018. In combining it with a wicked slider, he struck out 46.7 percent of the batters he faced—the fourth-highest percentage of all time. Hitters went 27-for-208 (.130) off the fastball, which came in at an average velo of 94.5 mph.

    "He throws it like 80 percent of the time and he strikes out the world," White Sox lefty Jace Fry said.

    Fry's right. The actual percentage was 77.2, and hitters just never grew accustomed to it.

    "I saw a couple replays from behind home plate, and he completely turns his back [while delivering the pitch]," reliever Brian Duensing said. "He shows almost his whole last name, and the hair is flying all over. Any extra movement will cause distraction." (Anthony Castrovince - MLB.com - Jan.7, 2019)

  • March 31, 2019: Hader struck out all three batters he faced on the minimum nine pitches to save a 4-2 win over the Cardinals. It was an immaculate inning, the first of 2019 in Major League Baseball.

  • April 2, 2019:  Josh continued to thrive for the Brewers, taking over in the ninth with a one-run lead and promptly throwing a 47th consecutive fastball to start the season before finally throwing an off-speed pitch—a changeup—to Jose Iglesias. He threw a slider later in the at-bat and Iglesias ultimately worked a walk, so Hader resumed firing fastballs and ended the game by retiring three straight hitters, including a pair of strikeouts.  Hader earned his fourth save in six days to open the season.

    “He was adamant, 'Hey, I feel really good today,'" Counsell said of his closer. “So we put him back out there. We’ve used him a little differently in the first week of the season. Not by plan; kind of by circumstance here. He’s done a good job.”  (McCalvy - mlb.com - 4/2/2019)

  • 2019 Season: Hader has a strong case to take home the NL Reliver of the Year again in 2019. Serving as Milwaukee's closer, the southpaw saved 37 games with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He was often overpowering, registering the fourth highest single-season strikeout rate in history (min. 50 innings) at 47.8 percent and leading all relievers with 138 K's in 75.2 innings.

  • Oct 26, 2019: Brewers lefty Josh Hader was presented the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award by Hoffman himself. 

  • March 29, 2020: Josh Hader's four-seamer is why he's so nasty. He has a 1.04 ERA and 57% strikeout rate in fastball-only outings. Hader is one of MLB’s most predictable pitchers. In 2019, he threw his four-seamer nearly 80 percent of the time. But he also might be MLB’s most unhittable pitcher.

    Beating opponents when they can guess what’s coming is true dominance (think Mariano Rivera’s cutter). For Hader, that was never more evident than in his seven appearances when he only threw heaters. Whether Hader thought his slider wouldn’t cut it, or simply felt his hardball couldn’t be beat, he went right at hitters . . . and they couldn’t do anything about it. Those opponents swung at 69 fastballs in those seven games, missed on 43 of those swings and put the ball in play just 10 times. A two-run homer by the Rockies’ Ian Desmond on April 30 was Hader’s only blemish, and he still got the save.

    The long ball plagued Hader as the summer wore on, and the question was whether he was becoming too predictable. Put me in the camp that Hader simply missed his spots. His heat is still incredibly hard to see out of his hand, it still looks like it’s climbing toward a batter’s eyeballs, and after two years of exposure, National League hitters still can’t get on top of it when Hader locates. No one is asking to step in against this freight train. (M Kelly - MLB.com - March 29, 2020)

  • Sept 2, 2020: Hader had 12 straight hitless games spanning 11 2/3 innings to begin 2020. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest season-opening streak of appearances without allowing a hit in history, snapping a tie he had shared with 2017 Tiger Justin Wilson, 1999 Phillie Scott Aldred and 1987 Red John Franco.

  • 2020 Season: After putting up a 2.42 ERA and 0.850 WHIP with a combined 15.3 K/9 in his first three seasons for Milwaukee, Hader took a slight step back to a 3.79 ERA, 0.947 WHIP, and only 14.7 K/9. Still, Hader put up 13 saves in 2020, which ended up leading the National League.  

  • April 1, 2021: 'Electric' Hader has thrown his hardest career pitch!

    In Hader's 172 regular-season appearances before Opening Day 2021,  Statcast counted that he threw 3,648 pitches. Of those, 2,832 (77.6 percent) registered as four-seam fastballs. It had gone pretty well. Hader was the NL Reliever of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and his 44.1 percent career strikeout rate entering this season was best in Major League history for a pitcher who had logged more than 35 innings. And yet, none of those fastballs from 2017-20 topped the 99.2 mph four-seamer that Hader threw at the Cubs’ Willson Contreras on Oct. 1, 2018, at Wrigley Field. That was the NL Central tiebreaker game, in which Hader closed the door on a 3-1 Brewers victory and the third division crown in franchise history. He threw the three hardest pitches of his career that day, all in that at-bat against Contreras. The other two were 98.8 mph.

    In 2019, Hader topped out at 98.6 mph on July 20 against the D-backs. In 2020, his hardest fastball was 96.8 mph on Sept. 14 against the Cardinals, and his average four-seamer was 94.5 mph, but he posted another solid season thanks to higher usage of his slider. This spring, Hader spoke of continuing that trend of less reliance on the fastball, and he even talked once again about throwing more changeups. Then he took the mound in front of fans and started throwing gas at the Twins.  Ten of Hader's 11 pitches were fastballs; the other was a slider. He struck out Willians Astudillo on three straight fastballs. He struck out Luis Arraez on four pitches, three of them fastballs and the other a slider in the dirt that allowed the Twins’ automatic runner to reach third base. Hader kept the runner there by striking out Jake Cave on four pitches, all fastballs. The Brewers won the game in the bottom of the inning.

    “He’s as good as it gets,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The fact you know essentially what he’s going to do and everyone in the league is able to send good hitters up to face him and he still finds a way to miss those bats. It’s a combination of a lot of things, but he’s pretty special at what he does.”

    The last pitch to Arraez is the one that registered 100 mph on the stadium scoreboard.

    Statcast had it at 99.6 mph, making it the hardest pitch Hader has thrown in the big leagues, in the regular season or the postseason. Round up for the scoreboard reading, and you’ve got your 100 mph pitch. (A McCalvy - MLB.com - April 1, 2021)

  • May 8, 2021:  When he retired Marlins outfielder Corey Dickerson on a foul tip, Josh became the fastest pitcher in history to 400 career strikeouts.  Then he became the fastest to 401. And then he became the fastest to 402.

    Hader struck out the side in the ninth inning at LoanDepot park to cap the Brewers’ win by doing what he does best.  It took him just 234.2 career innings to get to No. 400, breaking the mark previously held by Craig Kimbrel (236), who had set it in 2014.  (Castrovince - mlb.com)

  • On June 11, 2021, Josh picked up the save in the 7-4 win.  He did the same thing in the 7-4 win on June 12.  Then on the June 13, Hader closed out against Pittsburgh for a third time to complete the sweep.  In closing out all three games, it became the first time in Hader's five-year career that he's picked up three saves in a three-game sweep. 

  • July 12, 2021: Hader, who occasionally sparred with the Brewers club in arbitration as the sides struggled to assign value to his unique usage, has embraced the evolution. And he’s made it work in two important ways. One, he has added strength and durability to his naturally wiry frame over the years to bounce back better from outing to outing, which is imperative for a pitcher in a closer’s role.

    Two, he has become more efficient with increased usage of two off-speed pitches—a slider that was long part of his repertoire but became a significantly bigger part of his arsenal during the shortened 2020 season, and a changeup with which Hader had tinkered for years and years, but finally was honed in 2021.

    So, a pitcher that was the National League Reliever of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and a NL All-Star both seasons, has become a totally different pitcher. His fastball usage went from 82.9 percent in 2019, according to Statcast, to 67.7 percent in 2020 and 65.2 percent entering the Brewers’ final series of the first half in 2021. His slider usage, meanwhile, went from 15.5 percent in 2019 to 32.3 percent in 2020, and back down to 27.8 percent in 2021. Why? Because of the introduction of that changeup, which he is now throwing 7 percent of the time.

    And the results continue to be excellent. Hader became the third pitcher in Brewers history to begin a season 20-for-20 in save opportunities before experiencing his first blown save in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Mets. José Peraza’s tying home run was the first homer off Hader all year. 

    “Completely different,” Hader said of his approach to pitching in 2021. “There's a process to everything we do, the way we learn about this game and the way we have to adjust because there's so much information out on us now that they know what to expect. At the end of the day, you have to try and use everything you can to your advantage because these guys are good enough to sit on that one pitch. The fastball was my one pitch, but now I'm able to use different pitches to be able to make that fastball look a little bit better. I think that's the cool thing. That's how you stay here as long as you can, is adapting to the league itself.”

    Part of this is a matter of technology. High-speed cameras and radar today allow pitchers to get instant feedback on every pitch, even when they are at home throwing in the backyard during the offseason. The tech has evolved right alongside Hader, such that a process of developing a pitch by feel or feedback from hitters’ swings can now be done by viewing spin rate and spin access and velocity, right on the spot.

    “Even back then, the changeup was something that he was working on,” said Hook, referring to their first meeting in Biloxi. “But now with the Edgertronic, with the TrackMan, we can really see if it's good or not. And that's what really took him forward.”

    The key, Hook said, is that Hader bought in. Hook thinks of Hader’s evolution like this: “It’s just being stubborn to be great.” (A McCalvy - MLB.com - July 12, 2021)

  • Sept. 11, 2021: Corbin Burnes combined with reliever Josh Hader to pitch baseball’s record ninth no-hitter this season, breaking a mark set when pitchers began throwing overhand in 1884 as the Brewers beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0.

  • 2021 Season: Burnes led all qualified NL relievers in fWAR (2.7), K/9 (15.65), and finishing second in ERA (1.23). Hader took home Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year honors.

    For Hader, this is his third Reliever of the Year award in the last four seasons. He also won in 2018 and 2019.

  • Hader won the 2021 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award for the third time in four years after another strikeout-filled season as the Brewers' closer. He also won it in 2018 and ’19 before Milwaukee setup man Devin Williams' historic rookie season in ’20 temporarily knocked Hader from the top spot.(A McCalvy - MLB.com - Nov 10, 2021)

  • At the start of the 2022 season, Josh's career record was 16-13 with a 2.26 ERA. He had allowed 34 home runs and 135 hits in 282 innings with 482 strikeouts in his Major League career.  He has 96 saves in 112 attempts (85.7%). 
Career Injury Report
  • Aug 2-12, 2021: Hader was on the IL with Covid-19.