The Value of Junior Guerra

Rather than rehash in the comments section, I figured I would address the value of Junior Guerra here.

I think I have figured it out.

Some people have commented that it may be a good idea to trade Guerra for more minor league prospects.

Some people have commented that a return just a little bit better than what the Brewers may be enough to entice them to deal Guerra.

So... what is the real value of Junior Guerra?

First, I don't believe that Guerra's age makes much of a difference. In some ways, it helps because he is probably more mature (especially after his peculiar path to he majors) and he is more physically mature (with a lower work load).

Second, since the Brewers are very unlikely to sign their pitchers to long term, high dollar deals they are typically looking at keeping pitchers for 5 or 6 years and then trading trading them. From 31 to 35 Guerra could be a very useful pitcher, especially relative to what the Brewers will be paying him.

Third, because of #2, some people may say "trade him" now while he has value. Well, Guerra's value is limited right now. His peculiar path hasn't always shown great results. Prior to 2014 he was still kind of a mess as a pitcher with a AA independent team. So... for trade bait, he really isn't worth much. Sorry folks, the Sneed for Villar deal isn't a good comparison. Now, the longer Guerra keeps doing well the higher his trade value will be. Of course, the longer he keeps doing well, the more valuable he will be for the Brewers to keep him.

Personally, I don't think Guerra won't be trade bait until 2019 or 2020 - provided he keeps throwing well.

The reason I believe that Guerra won't be trade bait until 2019 or 2020 is because until then, Guerra's performance (assuming he stays under a 4.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) relative to what he is getting paid is worth FAR MORE to the Brewers than what could be obtained in a trade.

I think that a lot of fans are overly invested in the rebuild. It seems like EVERY player is thought of as someone who is going to be flipped for more minor leaguers. Players like Hernan Perez, Will Middlebrooks, Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres have been mentioned as players that could be flipped. ANY of these flips are to acquire someone like... well.. JUNIOR GUERRA (or Jonathan Villar)!

Guerra could have taken a turn like Peralta... or Jungmann... or Pena. Or could have wound up back in the minor league mix like Cravy.

And... "established" pitchers like Jungmann and Peralta crapped themselves this year.

So... then how much is Guerra worth in a trade for prospects?

First... Trey Supak was brought up as being a highly valued return in the Rogers deal. Well, Supak is NOT listed on John Sickels' minor league prospects for the Brewers. That is OK. I think he was a good pickup, too. But, how much is a pitcher like that worth? What are his chances of becoming Junior Guerra? In order to do this, I went back and looked at the Brewers' Top-20 (and other notables) listed by Sickels for 2009, 2010 and 2011 to see how many made it to the Majors and did as well as Guerra has.

Well... for those 3 years, the Brewers had 22 different pitchers in their Top-20.

Out of those 22, only 7 have left a substantial mark in the Majors - Mike Fiers, Jeremy Jeffress, Jimmy Nelson, Jake Odorizzi, Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg and Taylor Jungmann. That is 1 out of 3. And... 2 of those have run into a couple of speed bumps along the way.

So... 1 out of 3 who are ranked in the Brewers top 20 turn into something valuable.

Now... if you look at the pitchers that were ranked as a "C" prospect or better, there were 47 different pitchers for the Brewers. Add one more pitcher tot he success count - John Axford. That makes 8 pitchers out of 47 - or a whopping 17%. Ouch.

Out of the 47, there are failed 1st and 2nd round draft picks. There are failed highly ranked prospects. Just because Supak is a very talented (coming off of injury) former 2nd round pick he doesn't get any bonus points. No one is a guarantee.

So... of pitchers ranked HIGHER than Supak is right now... LESS than 1 in 5 becomes as good as Junior Guerra.


So... for you poker players... if you have a "Guerra"... how many prospects with a 1 in 5 chance would you need to get to make it worth trading Guerra? 5? 6?

What the Brewers have done is acquire talented young pitchers through the draft, trades and free agency hoping for the 1 in 5 to make it.

Look at the pitchers the Brewers drafted in the top 3 rounds from 2009 through 2011.
1 - Taylor Jungmann --- back in extended spring training
1s - Jed Bradley --- sucking in AA
2 - Jorge Lopez --- Top-100 prospect, struggling in AAA
3 - Drew Gagnon --- Sucked his way up to AAA... and now sucking in AAA
1 - Dylan Covey --- medical issue, went to college, doing well in AA for A's.
2 - Jimmy Nelson --- doing well for Brewers
3 - Tyler Thornburg --- doing well for Brewers
1 - Eric Arnett --- sucked his way out of pro ball
1s - Kyle Heckathorn --- sucked his way out of pro ball

So... out of 9 top draft picks there are 2 good ones, 1 still looking good in minors and 1 that did good for part of a season before going back to training ball.

When you get one, YOU KEEP IT!!!! (Unless the return makes it worth while).

In the case of Guerra, I think it is a MINIMUM of 3 pitchers with good upsides... PLUS someone like Broxton. Even then, one of the pitchers would need to be GOOD and at the AA level.

So... in conclusion... Guerra isn't worth anything yet. If he can continue doing well, he will be worth more to the Brewers with performance/salary than he would be worth in a trade.

The ONLY reason to think about trading Guerra is if the braintrust knows that he cannot keep up his current performance.

You just don't trade good, controllable pitching for prospects.