Hader Gets Invite After Dazzling In AFL

MILWAUKEE—To say it has been all good for Josh Hader since he joined the Brewers organization is an understatement, to say the least.

The 21-year-old lefthander was highly regarded when he was one of four prospects acquired from Houston in late July in exchange for center fielder Carlos Gomez and righthander Mike Fiers. But Hader took his game to another level after that trade, quickly rising up the ranks of prospect lists for the entire minor leagues.

Hader was 3-3, 3.17 in 17 games (10 starts) at Double-A Corpus Christi while still in the Astros’ system but was even better after the Brewers assigned him to Double-A Biloxi. In seven starts there, he compiled a 2.79 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 39 innings and 0.98 WHIP.

But it was Hader’s stint afterward in the Arizona Fall League that really had scouts buzzing. In seven outings (two starts), he posted a 0.56 ERA, allowing only eight hits and one run over 16 innings with seven walks and 19 strikeouts.

It wasn’t just the statistics—it was how he threw the ball. His fastball registered in the 97-98 mph range regularly, and his sharp-breaking slider was so filthy that both righties and lefties had trouble making contact.
“The Arizona Fall League helped me redefine my pitches and my mechanics,” he said. “It gave me that one last burst after the 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.”

As a reward for that showing, Hader—who doesn’t have to be protected on the 40-man roster yet—was invited to the Brewers’ major league spring camp. It’s an honor afforded few players at that early stage of their career, and Hader isn’t taking it lightly.

“Maybe I can impress them enough to break with the team out of camp. You never know,” he said. “My expectations are to do what I can do and let everything unfold from there.”


• The Brewers acquired 19-year-old shortstop Isan Diaz from the Diamondbacks in the trade that sent Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to Arizona.

• The Brewers designated outfielder Shane Peterson for assignment after they acquired Rymer Liriano from the Padres but kept Peterson when he cleared waivers.

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