Dellin Betances, arguably the Yankees’ best reliever, has hit the free-agent market heading into the 2020 season. It has been reported that other teams like the Dodgers and the Twins are targeting him. This should come as no surprise to the Yankee fan base who has seen what he can be when he is at his best. So with Betances’ return to the Bronx in 2020 still in question, it can’t hurt to look elsewhere for bullpen help. Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers could be a good option.
Hader came into the league in 2017 absolutely on fire, pitching to a 2.09 earned run average with 68 strikeouts across 47.1 innings. He was virtually unhittable in the 35 games he appeared in. Hader delivers his heater and wipeout slider with the same frame and in the same slingshot fashion as Chris Sale. Here’s how he looked in 2017.
After a stellar 2017, Hader came on to the scene in 2018 striking out 39 batters in the first 18 innings he pitched that year.
Since he debuted in the majors in 2017, among relievers, Hader has the most strikeouts and the highest strikeout percentage, has pitched to the lowest BABIP, the lowest WHIP, the second-highest K/9, and the tenth best FIP. Those are more than just impressive statistics, they’re the best statistics. If you were to hand-pick a reliever for your team, it would most likely be Hader, or, at most, one or two pitchers ahead of him.
What’s so great about Hader is that he is a middle reliever. Similar to Chad Green, Hader is a two or three inning guy that can come in after a starter or after the first relief pitcher and pitch all the way up until the last inning while wiping out everything in his path.
One problem the Yankees had in 2019 was that they were using their elite bullpen ineffectively—bringing out three or four pitchers to cover the last three or four innings. This link will direct you to some specific examples I provided towards the beginning of the 2019 season, but it exemplifies the point I’m trying to make. Using several relievers in a short period based on analytics is sometimes ineffective as it increases the chance that one of those pitchers might not have it that particular day.
This is why Hader could be a fantastic addition. Imagine having two elite relievers with the capability of Chad Green, or in this case better? Providing length out of the bullpen is so incredibly valuable. Whether it’s in the regular season over a double-header or in the postseason when pitchers are going on short rest. Long relievers save the rest of the bullpen.
Adding Hader to this super bullpen would be totally unfair for other teams. Brian Cashman should get him to the Bronx as soon as possible.