The Milwaukee Brewers promoted right-handed pitcher Junior Guerra to the big league roster this week and he performed fairly well in his first start, giving up seven hits and four runs to the Los Angeles Angels but fanning three and picking up the victory. Guerra is a very unusual prospect: he's already 31 years old and a veteran of baseball in Mexico and Europe. Here's a quick scoop.
Guerra is from Venezuela, originally signed by the Atlanta Braves as a catcher way back in 2002. He converted to pitching in 2006 but didn't take to it immediately and was released in 2009. He wandered the baseball world from that point, spending time in the independent American Association, the Mexican League, and eventually the Italian baseball league until signing with the White Sox as a free agent in 2015.
He learned how to pitch over the years and was quite effective in the Sox system, posting a 3.13 ERA with a 105/33 K/BB in 83 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, allowing just 59 hits. He saw some brief big league action with four innings, giving up seven hits and three runs but fanning three. The Brewers picked him up on waivers.
Listed at 6-2, 205, Guerra uses both two and four-seam fastballs in the 90-95 range averaging right around 94. He has a wide arsenal of secondary pitches, including a slider, a curve, a cutter, and a splitter. The splitter is regarded as the best of his offerings by most observers. Overall he profiles as a fifth starter or bullpen option, but it would not surprise me to see him have a season or two where he greatly exceeds expectations.
This Milb.com video is a year old but gives the general idea about what Guerra can do with his splitter: