Profile: Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves out of Venezuela way back in 2001, it’s been a long road to the big leagues for Guerra, who made his major league debut last season with the Chicago White Sox. The 31-year-old righty actually began his minor league career as a catcher, before moving to the mound in 2006. He appeared in 18 games at three different levels of Atlanta’s organization, but did not advance past Single-A. Out of baseball in 2007, Guerra hooked on with the New York Mets in 2008, reaching High-A St. Lucie, but following a 50 game suspension after a failed drug test, he was out of work once again. Guerra bounced around International and independent leagues for the next few seasons before latching on with the White Sox prior to last season. After appearing in 31 games between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, Guerra finally got the call to the big leagues last June, making three relief appearances. With the White Sox needing to free up room on their 40-man roster, they exposed Guerra to waivers last October and the Brewers quickly snatched him up. He began the 2016 season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he made four starts, striking out 23 batters in 23.1 innings of work.
Strengths: A three-pitch pitcher, Guerra features a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90’s that is probably his best pitch presently. He also uses a slider that is slightly above average and he’ll mix in a changeup as well. His changeup is a splitter that is inconsistent at times, but when he is on, it provides a good change of pace and gives the veteran a nice three-pitch mix. He has experience as both a starter and reliever and has the ability to fill either role with his fastball playing up in relief, being clocked as high as 97.
Weaknesses: The biggest thing working against Guerra is his age. Already 31, with just three Major League games under his belt, he’s not exactly your typical prospect. His mechanics can get out of whack from time-to-time and when he’s not throwing his change for strikes, it makes his other two pitches much more hittable.
Future: Guerra will get the first crack at filling Taylor Jungmann’s vacated spot in the Brewers rotation when he takes the mound Tuesday night. If he is to stay in the big leagues long-term, it will probably require a move back to the bullpen for him, but for now, with the Brewers searching for options at the big league level, they’ll give him a look in a starting role. With younger, more heralded prospects waiting in the wings, Guerra will have to be on top of his game to stick in Milwaukee’s rotation for the remainder of the season.