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Milwaukee Brewers: Why Junior Guerra is No Ace Pitcher

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May 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Junior Guerra (41) delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning of their game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Junior Guerra (41) delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning of their game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Although, Junior Guerra has certainly proved himself to deserve a spot in the rotation, to name him an “Ace” like some do in the Twitter world is a bit too much.

First 38.1 IPs (or less) of 2016

K/9         BB/9        LOB%         GB%          ERA            FIP          WARP

Player A       7.28        3.99        82.4%        53.8%         3.05        5.20           0.7 (Full Season)

Player B       9.00        3.60        73.7%        36.0%         3.30        3.18           0.7

To compare the two up above, it’s easy to say that Player B should be the ace of the Milwaukee Brewers staff and low and behold that’s Junior Guerra, while Player A is Jimmy Nelson. While, I no doubt enjoy watching Guerra pitch, every time I see the hashtag #2016BrewersAce, I get a bit confused what direction the Milwaukee Brewers are heading this year.

While, I’m like any Milwaukee Brewers fan and cheer on Junior Guerra and for once would like another stable starting pitcher in the rotation, to say he’s an “Ace” is a bit too much. At 31 years-old and 63.2 IP in AAA (8 starts) being the most innings pitched last year, reality should step in at some point in the near future.

BPMilwaukee took a look at his velocity and fairly compared him to players like Masahiro Tanaka and Ubaldo Jimenez as his splitter has been nothing to mess with. Looking back at 2015, Tanaka had a 3.51 ERA, 3.29 xFIP, 2.2 WAR. While, numbers are mixed, it’d be fair to rank him 2nd at the highest among the New York Yankees starters last year with Michael Pineda’s 2.95 xFIP and 3.5 WAR.

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Of course, we all know where Ubaldo Jimenez ended up after an incredible 2010 season with the Colorado Rockies that was close to a Cy Young award winning season. So, although I may root for Junior Guerra to keep it going, I certainly have reality. Much like Jimenez in his 2010 year going from 2.88 ERA, 3.10 FIP, 5.9 WAR to decrease to a (solid for Jimenez) 4.11 ERA, 3.83 xFIP, and 2.7 WAR last year.

Not to say that the article was wrong at all as BPMilwaukee pointed out we didn’t have any expectations of Guerra at the start of the season to begin with and if he ends up being a mid-rotation starter, that’d be quite a gift in the 2016 season.

But, much like Monday, Guerra didn’t necessarily deserve the earned runs (with poor defense for sure), they still were added and Jimmy Nelson gets the now basic stat of best ERA in the rotation.

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Going back on his rookie report from a John Sickels article it says, “…but it would not surprise me to see him have a season or two where he greatly exceeds expectations.” He references his splitter as being the pitch to trick hitters the most, but overall can see him as a fifth or bullpen option.

While, for most Milwaukee Brewers fans I’m sure there’s a question, “Who was saying Jimmy wasn’t our ace?”, it’s most likely only a few. But, while the team was on a good winning streak (4 out of 5), the St. Louis Cardinals have put us back to reality (winning 2 out of 3), we’ll still get to have fun with our favorite players using hashtags on Twitter to make shout-outs.

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