MLB

Pitchers To Watch Part 2

Jose Berrios

Berrios has already cemented his role as the Twins ace and he’s just 23 years old. Berrios reminds me a lot of Jose Fernandez in terms of stuff and that’s saying a lot. Berrios has a lively fastball that can reach 97-98 MPH when he’s really feeling it. Not only can he sling the ball up there at a high velocity, but he can spot it very well. Berrios’ breaking ball doesn’t have a lot of downward action, but more of a sweeping motion across the plate away from right handed hitters. It almost mimics Yu Darvish’s slider, which is one of his better pitches. Berrios produces a high strike rate, but also a high contact rate. The good thing is, it’s a lot of weak contact that produces a lot of outs.

While Jose’s 4-4 record and 4.05 ERA this season may not scream superstar, Berrios hasn’t been pitching for very long. When he was drafted by the Twins in 2012, he just started pitching in January of that year. He played second base and shortstop for a traveling team that his father played on. Berrios still has time to develop as a pitcher and really perfect his craft. From what I’ve seen out of him he has the determination and drive to be the best pitcher that he possibly can, which makes me believe he’ll be a star in this league very soon. His stats may not be the best, but his name is going to be thrown around as a terrifying at-bat for opposing hitters in years to come.

Trevor Williams

Williams has already been put into the conversation of the top pitchers in the MLB and I 100% agree. While he is a little older, 26, he still has some time to become a great pitcher. In 10 starts this season, he has not allowed more than 4 runs at any point and he’s only had two starts where he allowed more than 6 hits.

Williams produces a lot of ground balls with his fastball that has a late sinking break. None of his pitches are particularly overpowering and he kind of reminds me of Kyle Hendricks with a little more life on his fastball. Williams has pretty good control of his fastball, although he’s had two games this season where he’s given up 5 walks.

The off speed pitches for Williams are really his bread and butter. His slider breaks late in the zone to produce a lot of swings and misses as does his change-up. His slider is his better off speed pitch and it seems like he feels more comfortable throwing that in counts where he needs a strike. His change-up is a decent pitch, but sometimes it looks like he lets up a little bit like he’s afraid to catch too much of the plate with it. Both of these pitches have improved already this season, which could attribute to his improved strikeout rate. If Williams can continue to improve his fastball and off speed pitches, he’ll be one of the better pitchers in the MLB.

Josh Hader

Josh Hader has been one of the many surprises of the young 2018 season so far. Hader has pitched well out of the bullpen for the Brewers and has been dominating hitters with a fastball that sits in the high 90s. He’s been clocked at 99 MPH a couple times which is pretty impressive for a lefty. His low arm slot results in a fastball that runs away from left handed hitters. He also features a slider that gets horizontal movement and sits in the high 70s to lower 80s, but it’s still an effective pitch that gets a lot of swings and misses. Hader’s change up sits at around 82-86 and he uses that off of his fastball. His best pitch is his fastball, followed by his slider, then change up. All three pitches produce swings and misses, which is why his strikeout rate is so high.

Hader has a 18.44 K/9, which is pretty much unheard of from anyone in the MLB, especially a reliever. In just 27.1 innings pitched this season, Hader has 56 punch outs, which almost equals his total from last season of 68 in 47.2 innings pitched. Hader will likely stay in the bullpen for the Brewers because of a lack of longevity, but he will soon be able to put his name in the same conversation with the great relievers in the game today. His opponent batting average is a staggering .080 and on base percentage against him is just .147. He obviously doesn’t have as many batters faced as the other two guys in this article, but he’s been the best out of the bunch so far this season.

Hopefully the Brewers get a little better or ship Hader out, because he could really be beneficial for a team come October. He hasn’t gotten a full body of work in yet as an MLB reliever, but this season might be historic if he keeps up this pace.

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