June 13, 2017
The Background: Hader was the Orioles' 19th-round draft pick in 2012. A local prep arm, he burst onto prospect radars with a dominant professional debut in short-season ball that summer. His full-season debut went swimmingly as well. Hader struck out nearly a batter per inning as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League before he was dealt to the Astros at the deadline as part of the Bud Norris package. The lefty wasn’t done wandering yet, though (he even looks the part of a well-traveled roadie).
After two strong years in the Houston system, he was shipped to Milwaukee for Carlos Gomez, along with his new major-league teammate, Phillips. Milwaukee’s system is where he really broke out. Hader had a dominant 2016 season, striking out 161 batters in 125 innings across the upper minors. That—coupled with his plus fastball/slider combo—was enough to make him a top-20 prospect and the second-best prospect in a very deep Brewers organization.
He's struggled with his control—never a strong suit—in 2017, but you might as well be standing on the moon when you peer down from the bump in Colorado Springs. Miller Park—not exactly a pitcher’s haven itself—will seem like quite friendly confines by comparison.