As the offseason progresses, it is general consensus that the bullpen is not quite ready yet. Josh Hader and Corey Knebel will not a Milwaukee Brewers relief core make.
To the Milwaukee Brewers credit, Jeremy Jeffress is also performing well. But there are two guys who could fill out the bullpen with the confidence that it generally lacked in 2017. In order to start to compete, that reliability after the starters will be a key step in the right direction.
A September call-up, Taylor Williams has only 4.2 innings in the MLB. However, in those limited chances he did not look too bad. His 1.93 ERA and just over seven walks per nine are both pretty solid for his short stint. Though four innings is not nearly enough to make a judgement.
That being said, it is doubtful Williams will be on the MLB team, at least to start the year. In order to be a call-up, he bypassed Triple A. And it is likely he will go to Colorado Springs for some seasoning to start 2018.
If Williams performs well in Spring, lands himself in Triple A, then he could work his way into the bullpen fairly early. Especially if it is struggling. If he can build on his brief start, then the 26 year old righty will certainly be helpful.
Opening Day starter to bullpen in just a year? It is highly possible. Junior Guerra was absolutely brilliant in 2016. Then, through some injury issues, that performance declined. His resurrection as a reliever might be just what he, and the team, needs.
In six starts in Triple A last season he posted a 2.10 ERA. As a reliever in 2017, Guerra threw just six innings with an ERA above four. However, that is due to the strength of two homers. His other numbers are fairly solid. Opposing hitters hit .136 against him while striking out 12 batters. If he can keep the ball in the park, he might be a solid reliever.
The shorter outings might be the best thing for Guerra. He is able to put more effort into each pitch, which is allowing him to be more effective. It is not insane to believe the Milwaukee Brewers will use their former ace in relief this season.
Both of these guys could be answers to the bullpen questions currently looming over the Milwaukee Brewers. Neither were big parts of the relief core last year, but that would be mostly a good thing. By adding finding more reliable arms, the team as a whole will get more competitive in the NL Central.