2019 salary: $2,225,000
2020 projection: $3,500,000
After three years of starting games or serving as a swingman in the Brewers bullpen, Junior Guerra made a full-time switch to the bullpen in 2019 and ended up putting together one of the best seasons since his breakout in 2016.
His background as a starter helped as he threw 83.2 innings out of the bullpen while appearing in 72 of the Brewers’ 162 games in just about every bullpen role you could imagine, from soaking up innings after a short start to getting high-leverage outs in the middle innings to closing out games when Josh Hader wasn’t available.
Pitching strictly out of the bullpen seemed to have positive effects both on his health — there weren’t any flare-ups of a forearm injury that led to some elbow worries in 2018, and he was able to throw his splitter 21% of the time in 2019 — and on his performance, as he allowed baserunners at the lowest rate of his career, setting a new personal best with a 1.12 WHIP and holding opposing batters to a career-low .191 average.
While impressive, there may be some worry on how repeatable that may be. Guerra’s strikeout numbers didn’t increase…