One candidate to fill out the back of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation in 2018 is Junior Guerra. It makes sense, he was only the Opening Day starter in 2017.
After a poor showing during the year he found himself in Colorado Springs. But Craig Counsell is saying that Guerra will be competing for a rotation spot to open the year. To be fair, the issues in 2017 started with an injury suffered in game one.
If he can bounce back to 2016 form, he will only improve the rotation. But that is a big if. Guerra exceeded rookie limits at 31 years old in 2016. His 2.81 ERA over 121 inning proved as a breakout showing. However, his follow up at 32 was a 70 innings with an ERA over five.
Can Guerra Earn A Spot?
In short, no. If he does, he will not hold it long. Even with his excellent showing in 2016, his FIP was at 3.70. That means at his absolute best performance could be a solid back end arm, but it is not likely he will find that form again.
A 6.58 FIP last season is not telling of a man who is ready to reclaim his spot in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation. If his rookie season had not come on the wrong side of 30, this might be a different story. But the way things stand now, a 33 year old is not going to recreate the form he lost.
What Needs To Change?
The biggest change that needs to happen this offseason if Guerra will have a shot is that he needs to regain his control. Though his K/9 saw an increase, the numbers signalling consistent control did as well. His BB/9 soared above five, and his HR/9 went from under one to over two.
With control back into his game, he might be able to hold down the number five spot. But more than likely he will be in the bullpen, if anything. His days of starting will more than likely be limited to Triple A.
Guerra’s 2018 Outlook
It would be surprising to see Guerra make it out of the minors this year. There is more than enough talent to fill the potential rotation spots without the 2017 Opening Day starter. His best shot is to succeed in a bullpen role.
That is where he found himself in September last season. In six innings his ERA was not great. But he did show a lot more promise than that, he just gave up two homers. His 12 strikeouts with only two walks were good. Opposing hitters hit only .136 against him.
It would be ridiculous to not consider Guerra for the rotation because of what might happen. But it is a very far fetched hope at this point. That being said, his years of production might be extended if the 33 year old finds his way into a successful bullpen role soon.