Hader was a standout pitcher at Old Mill High School in Anne Arundel County, and in the 19th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, the Baltimore Orioles, his local team, selected him. That in and of itself is a feel good story to see a local guy get to play in the organization he grew up around, but Hader's story does not stop there. Josh came out of high school throwing in the mid to upper 80's, but when Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson got his hands on Hader, Josh took to the pitching program and gained an astonishing amount of velocity on his fastball. By the end of the season, Hader was topping out at 93-94 MPH and pitched extremely well in his 17 games in the Orioles organization as he went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 17 games with 48 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings pitched combined with the Gulf Coast Rookie League Orioles and short season class A Aberdeen Ironbirds.
His velocity increase and great performance has stood out in the minds of Orioles personnel and baseball analysts as Hader has been listed as the #13 ranked prospect in the entire Orioles organization. Josh is a tall, skinny pitcher (6'3'', 160 lbs) with plenty of room to grow physically as he matures and builds muscle. He has a four pitch arsenal with a fastball, changeup, curveball and slider and commands all four pitches very well for being such a young pitcher. His arm angle gives him a lot of movement on all of his pitches, but still has some work to do on his slider as it is a bit flat right now.
Hader continues to improve, and in 2013 he is beginning to show just how good he could become one day. Still just 19-years-old, Hader has spent the entire 2013 season with the Low A Delmarva Shorebirds and has been fantastic. His fantastic first half for the Shorebirds earned his a South Atlantic League All Star selection and he tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the SAL All Star game. He is currently tied for eighth in the South Atlantic League in ERA.
Although he has struggled a bit over his last three starts for the Shorebirds, Hader has been phenomenal posting a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts over 71 2/3 innings pitched while striking out 64 batters. One of the most impressive stats for Hader is the fact that he has only given up four home runs the entire season and boasts a .203 batting average against stat as well. When it comes to left handed batters, they basically stand no chance against Hader as lefties are only hitting .114 against him and have only garnered eight hits the entire season.
As is the case with most high school pitchers, Hader seems to be showing a little bit of fatigue as his first full professional season grows longer as his ERA has increased each month this year. Again, it should be pointed out that although his ERA has gone up each month, it is still at a miniscule 2.89 for the entire season and other than July (one start) he has not had a month where he posted an ERA over 3.60.
The future is bright for this young left hander and if he continues to pitch the way he has, the adoring fans of the High A Frederick Keys could catch a glimpse of the 19-year-old before this season comes to an end.
During this past offseason, Josh was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview, click here to check it out!
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