Earlier, we interviewed the Astros minor league hitter of the year, so it’s only proper that we interview the Astros minor league pitcher of the year. Let’s see what one of my favorite Astros prospects Josh Hader has to say about himself.
CTH: What have you been doing this offseason to get ready for 2015?
I’ve done some hunting and working out. I’ve been working on my slider, trying to keep it in the same arm slot.
Who did you get the most excited to see once you got back to minor league camp?
There are a bunch of guys, I’ve made a lot of friends coming to Houston, so I was looking forward to seeing everyone.
Do you have any idea where you are starting the year off at?
Hopefully I’ll be at Corpus Cristi, but I’m not sure till camp ends and see how it goes.
Not sure if you have heard the Chris Sale comparisons, but which player do you try to emulate your game from?
Yes, I’ve heard about it a lot, I don’t really try to be like anyone. I just try to really be myself, and I have my own kind of style.
Who was your favorite baseball player as a kid?
It would have to be Randy Johnson, he’s was the guy I love watching!
What were your thoughts when you were traded from the Baltimore organization to the Houston organization?
It was crazy to me, I was in my first full season with the Orioles. I never thought that I would get traded that early in my career, but I was excited because it was a new journey. I ended up going to Iowa and winning a championship with a bunch of great guys.
Why were you so successful at Lancaster, even though most pitchers struggle there?
I was focusing one day at a time, not thinking ahead, just staying in the moment, and when I got on the mound mixed pitches up, kept the ball down for the most part and staying ahead of the batters. The defense I had behind me was unbelievable which helped me a lot as well.
What was the difference between AA and A hitters?
The biggest difference from the jump from A to AA, was that I needed to use my slider more often, but my command just wasn’t there at the end of the year. My command on my fastball was spotty; trying to get the last push at the end of the year.
Did you like the concept of the tandem starters in the minor leagues, or would you rather be stretched out a little more?
Sometimes you want to get the extra innings in, because as a starter you start getting in a grove around the fourth, fifth inning. Most times when you start the game you are done after five innings, and sometimes you last into the sixth inning. We are learning to get used to it, because this was a new idea in the Astros organization.
Tell the readers some of your feelings from the combined no-hitter you threw with your roommates.
It was awesome, it was a big game and I wanted to win. They had their best pitcher throwing against me. Our opponent was the best team in their division. I really didn’t have my best stuff that day, because I think I walked four guys that game. Then my roommate JD comes in to pitch, and he was dominating over two great innings. I was getting excited that we still had the no-hitter going, Minor comes in and shuts the door. My emotions were going crazy first no-hitter in pro ball and couldn’t have happened any better with two of my good friends who happened to live in the same house. Ha-ha it was unbelievable.
What pitches do you throw, and rank them in the order from the one you’re most confident with, to the one you are still working on?
Besides being left-handed, what do you have to offer to the Astros rotation in the next few years?
I’m here to help win games, and hopefully get the Astros players championship rings.
What are your thoughts about your overall command of your pitches? Do you consider yourself a strikeout pitcher?
I don’t consider myself a strikeout pitcher, I try to get early outs. But if it comes to where I have two strikes on the guy, I’m trying to put him away.
What are three things that Astros fans need to know about Josh Hader?
I like to hunt, golf, and fish.
Love my sweet tea
You have a cool nickname there, Haderade. It’s smart that you trademarked it.
Haha, thanks man only few call me it, but it’s gonna stick eventually mostly just Hader. It was an idea I came up with in high school when I was bored.
Thank you to Josh Hader for taking some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us! Good luck in 2015!
Astros Prospect: Brett Phillips (He wants to go by Maverick)