Last night, reports came out that Wei-Chung Wang was going to be added to the roster by the Brewers, and we even got confirmation from Wang himself that he was on his way up to the majors. With an open 40-man spot, only a 25-man roster move was needed. What we didn’t know was the roster move, but now it is official:
The #Brewers have selected the contract of LHP Wei-Chung Wang from Triple-A @skysox. RHP Junior Guerra optioned.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 30, 2017
The Brewers really are not pulling any punches this season with competing, and they further prove it by sending down their Opening Day starter, Junior Guerra. It’s been a rough year for Guerra so far. He went on the DL after Opening Day, and since he returned he hasn’t been the same. In 12 starts this season, he posted a 4.96 ERA and 6.99 FIP. The control just wasn’t there as his walk rate jumped to 5.69 BB/9, though he was still striking out batters at a 7.30 K/9 rate. His home run rate also jumped to 2.34 HR/9, another product of his lost control.
How is Kyle handing this news? Let’s check over on Twitter:
Breathe, big fella. Don't forget to breathe.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 30, 2017
They can never take away #2016BrewersAce https://t.co/pdH9ZbOqlc— Kyle L. (@brewerfan28) July 30, 2017
Definitely don't think this is the end for him. At the very least, should be a useful pen piece.— Kyle L. (@brewerfan28) July 30, 2017
For the millionth time, if they would've gotten the offer they wanted for him, they would've traded him. https://t.co/A0tEdh3jDX— Kyle L. (@brewerfan28) July 30, 2017
He’s taking the news well enough. He does make a few good points here. Guerra does have the pitches to pitch well out of the bullpen, and he may eventually end up there. He might have had a shot in the bullpen first if they had the space, but with the bullpen going through a lot of pitchers last night, the roster move was needed sooner. He also has a reminder that the reason Guerra wasn’t traded this offseason was not because the Brewers didn’t want to trade him, but because the right offer didn’t come along. The gamble didn’t pay off, but it was still reasonable to make considering the season that Guerra was coming off of. Guerra will likely get another chance with the Brewers, but for now, he’ll get some work in with Colorado Springs and try to get back on track. Hopefully it all works out for him.
Meanwhile, Wei-Chung Wang will get his first real chance in the majors now. His first stint in 2014 was mostly as a mop-up reliever, only on the roster so the team could hold on to him following the Rule 5 draft. In the 2+ seasons since then that he has been in the minors, he has developed into a strong reliever. In 47.1 innings for the Sky Sox, he has recorded a 2.09 ERA and 4.05 FIP. He’s got a good strikeout rate (8.37 K/9) and walk rate (2.28 BB/9), though his home run rate is a little higher than ideal (0.95 HR/9). He has done well to get to this point, and has definitely earned his chance to prove that he belongs on this team.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.