With a 3.75 ERA since the beginning of June, the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen has held their own. On Thursday, the team announced a move to strengthen that group.
The move makes sense for the Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron Wilkerson, a starter in Triple-A, was brought up when Jimmy Nelson was moved to the bullpen. But instead of sliding into the open spot in the rotation, which was given to Adrian Houser, Wilkerson has been used sparingly out of the bullpen since then.
Now the Brewers have another true reliever in Deolis Guerra to use out of the bullpen. So who is the new guy in Milwaukee?
How did he get here?
Guerra was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers last winter to a minor league contract with an invitation to participate in Spring Training with the team. He didn’t do too shabby, compiling a 2.84 ERA over seven games, striking out seven and walking just one. He was reassigned to the minors and has been with the Triple-A San Antonio Missions ever since.
Guerra was originally signed by the New York Mets as an international free agent in 2005 and actually participated in the MLB Futures Game as a member of their system. Since then, he has bounced around between the Twins, Pirates, Angels, and Rangers organizations before landing with Milwaukee.
Guerra does have major league experience with average results. From 2015-2017 between the Pirates and Angels he made 73 appearances, all in relief, to the tune of a 4.17 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. His K/9 over that time was 7.1, so he doesn’t blow batters away, but his career K/BB ratio of 3.40 is solid and would slot him fourth in the current Brewers bullpen.
How has he looked in Triple-A?
Guerra’s numbers with the Missions have been very good. In 41 1/3 innings over 27 games, Guerra is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a sparkling 0.94 WHIP. He has struck out 48 this year with just 10 walks, even better than his career K/BB ratio in the majors.
Guerra was not on the team’s 40-man roster, which would generally mean a corresponding move would have needed to be made in order to be able to call him up to the Major League roster. But the Brewers had an open spot as a result of Hernan Perez being DFA’d last week so no issues there.
Even though the bullpen has performed well over the last month-plus, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own questions. Josh Hader is clearly the closer, but that is the only clearly defined role. Houser was the next best reliever for a while, but he’s in the rotation now. Junior Guerra and Jeremy Jeffress have been shaky at times lately. If Deolis Guerra can do well, perhaps the bullpen can stabilize some more.
The Milwaukee Brewers have four games left in their current 13-game stretch before some much needed rest during the All Star break. They’ll likely need every arm to contribute between now and then, including Deolis Guerra’s.