Junior Guerra is a 31-year-old rookie that has enjoyed a 13-game run as a dominant starting pitcher. He’s sporting a 6-2 record, with a 3.06 ERA in 88.1 innings pitched with a 7.9 K/9. His 4.05 xFIP (Adjusted Fielding Independent Pitching, a metric designed to strip away park effects, opponent quality, and team defense) suggests he’s been catching some luck early in his career.
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However, even stripping away external factors, Guerra’s 4.05 ERA would be a big improvement over the KC Royals no. 5 position, which saw Chris Young compile a 6.90 ERA and surrender home runs like a batting practice pitcher.
In fact, he’s only allowed nine home runs in 88.1 innings pitched, which is a lot better than most of the pitchers on the Kansas City Royals staff (a .92 HR/9 rate). That Guerra plays half his games in a bandbox like Miller Park in Milwaukee suggests he’ll surrender even fewer home runs in spacious Kauffman Stadium.
Guerra is a four pitch pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, cutter, slider, and split fingered fastball. His four-seamer sits around 94 mph, and his out pitch is the split fingered fastball.
At the very least, Guerra could provide a break from the gopher balls that have bedeviled the KC Royals all season.
The Brewers might consider trading him as a sell-high move, given his rather humble prospect pedigree. The primary benefit for the Kansas City Royals is that Guerra should be both cheap in prospects and in salary since he makes rookie league minimum, while promising to be a substantial improvement over their current options at the bottom of their rotation.
Landing Guerra might not provide a jolt of confidence to the clubhouse, but could be a good move that pays dividends over both the short and long term. The KC Royals might be able to get him for a pair of pitchers with better perceived futures like Alec Mills and an upside play a long way from the major leagues like Nolan Watson.
Next: A Solid No. 5 Option