Just How Great Has Josh Hader Been? A Closer Look at His Historic Start

May 19th, 2022

As each week of the season passes, fans seem to be given another reason to appreciate the brilliance of Brewers closer Josh Hader.

En route to recording his 500th career strikeout and his 100th career save – both within his first 14 appearances this year – Hader has looked as sharp as ever to begin 2022.

Here’s a look into the stats behind Hader’s historic start to the year.

Scoreless Appearances Streak

The closer has consistently slammed the door on opposing batters throughout his career, but he’s been nearly untouchable of late.

His record-setting 14 consecutive saves to kick off the season have come mistake-free. The Brewers closer is yet to allow a run this year, and he’s stranded every runner (two) he’s inherited so far.

A scoreless season as the calendar jumps to mid-May is impressive alone. However, dating back to 2021, Hader has compiled 35 straight scoreless appearances, putting him close to another piece of MLB history.

He’s just five scoreless appearances away from tying the MLB record of 40 straight. With Hader pitching lights-out, it’s another record that could be his very soon.


It’s been nearly a calendar month since the last time an opposing batter collected a hit against Hader. Michael Chavis’ infield single on April 20 marked Hader’s last blemish and one of just two hits allowed on the season. Through 13.1 innings, Hader is holding opponents to a league-leading .047 batting average against.

Advanced stats offer similar insight on Hader’s performance, with his opponents mustering a meager .118 xBA (expected batting average) and .293 xSLG (expected slugging). Both of those numbers put Hader in the 98th percentile or above across MLB.

It’s a luxury for any team to have a weapon like Hader to close out games, especially since the Brewers have already played in 12 one-run contests. Combine Hader’s excellence with other standout relievers on the roster like Devin Williams and Brad Boxberger, and it’s no surprise the team has won nine of those one-run games.

Historic Strikeout Numbers

Back on May 10, Hader collected strikeout No. 500 in career inning 292 1/3, becoming the second fastest player in MLB history to hit that milestone.

So far, Hader’s tallied 14.18 strikeouts per nine innings this year, a mark that places him sixth among MLB relievers.

Hader has produced these gaudy strikeout numbers with the help of a lethal slider, which he’s leaning on for punchouts more than ever. A fastball-first pitcher, he’s sporting a career-high 56.3 put away percentage with his slider – a sign that his off-speed option is becoming even more effective.

It’s an arsenal of pitches that’s propelled the closer to a 43.8 strikeout percentage, third among MLB relievers. If Hader keeps this strikeout pace up, he’ll be well on his way to his fourth-career 100+ strikeout season.