The Baltimore Orioles were a feel good story in the 2012 baseball world, and rightfully so, but within the Orioles organization there were several internal feel good stories as well. One of the bigger ones was their 19th round selection in the 2012 MLB draft, Josh Hader.
Hader was a standout pitcher at Old Mill High School in Anne Arundel County, and in the 19th round the Baltimore Orioles, his local team, selected him. That in 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 #20 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.
Josh was also kind enough to sit down with Orioles101 for an interview and respond to a few questions for our readers.
Orioles101: First let me just thank you for taking the time to do this and I know our readers are going to enjoy this.
Anytime, and thank you.
Orioles101: So tell us, how did it feel when you got the call that Baltimore was drafting you in 2012 when you are a local guy from Anne Arundel county?
It was a great feeling knowing that your hometown team is interested in you, knowing that my family and friends can come support me and stay local.
Orioles101: It is great when it works out that way! In high school you threw in the mid to upper 80's, but this summer in pro ball you topped out at 93-94 MPH, what can you attribute to adding so much velocity in a short period of time?
It was a plus going down to Florida and staying in the hot weather, but doing a lot of long toss. Also, Rick Peterson helped me out and changed a minor flaw in my delivery which helped me gain more power and flow.
Orioles101: It was certainly impressive, that's for sure. You were able to get 17 games of pro ball in this past summer, what did you learn to help you in 2013?
Thank you, yes but I learned a lot from being in pro ball, it's definitely a lot faster of a game than high school. You have to pitch with a plan for each batter, be more selective with the pitch calling and where to spot it. All that came into a big factor in pro ball.
Orioles101: No question about it. You were recently named the #20 prospect in the Orioles organization. Does that mean anything to you or is it something you don't pay attention to?
It's definitely an honor to be named that out of the organization, but I don't let it get to my head much. I still have a lot to achieve in my career, it makes me want to work even harder to one day be called the number one prospect.
Orioles101: I love that attitude! Do you know where you will start the 2013 season? Aberdeen? Delmarva? Frederick?
Haha, thank you, but I do not know where I'll be playing. I'm guessing I'll find that out after spring training.
Orioles101: Understandable. In 2012, you were used as a reliever, is that where your future lies or is being a starter the ultimate goal?
Yes I was, but I'm not sure what I'll be doing this year, that's something I'll find out this year. I know since I was coming out of high school, being a reliever would save me innings and not kill my arm, but it's possible I could be starting this year.
Orioles101: Fantastic, and last one for you, Ravens or 49'ers?
Haha, I have to go with the Ravens, saying that because they are the hometown team and I've supported them through the playoffs after the Skins lost.
Orioles101: Haha, great answer till you mentioned the Skins, but Ravens are the correct choice, haha.
Hahaha, love my Washington teams.
Orioles101: Again, I just want to thank you for taking some time for us, and best of luck in 2013 and beyond!
Thank you and I appreciate it. Have a great day.
Orioles101 would like to thank Josh Hader for taking the time to sit down with us for an interview and respond to a few questions for our readers. Hader has a great future ahead of him and if he continues to mature physically he could become a very good left handed pitcher, either out of the bullpen or in a starting rotation.
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