Moore: The rise of the fireman, Josh Hader

From Jack Moore at The Hardball Times on May 17, 2018:

About a year and a half ago in this space, I asked when — or if — we would ever see another Willie Hernandez, the brilliant ace reliever who earned the 1984 MVP with the Detroit Tigers. Hernandez’s 1984 was, in my opinion, the best relief season of all time. Hernandez appeared in 80 games and finished 68, both league-leading totals, and despite going multiple innings in a majority of his appearances, Hernandez finished with a ludicrous 1.92 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 140.1 innings of work to go with 32 saves.

A few other relievers can boast similar campaigns — see Jim Kern’s brilliant 1979 with the Rangers, Goose Gossage’s role-defining performances as a fireman for the 1975 White Sox and 1977 Pirates, or Mark Eichhorn’s sparkling first full season with the Blue Jays in 1986. But Hernandez stands out as the anchor of one of the best teams of the 1980s and perhaps the ultimate example of just how oppressive the multi-inning reliever can be for opponents when supported by a strong lineup and starting rotation. Hernandez posted just 3.2 fWAR, but he was talented at drawing weak contact and is likely underestimated by FIP. Hernandez finished the 1984 season with an absurd plus-8.58 Win Probability Added, a full win better than the next best relief season since 1969, the year the save statistic was instituted.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 17, 2018. Last Updated: May 17, 2018.