By Bob Wirz, Independent Baseball Insider
If it is not enough that the defending champion Wichita Wingnuts are off to another solid start (11-5), the South Division leaders can celebrate the refreshing attitude of David Peralta, their first player to reach the major leagues, and rejoice over having the Chicago White Sox add still another of their alums to their roster.
Onetime catcher Junior Guerra (pictured), who got much of his pitching training with 41 appearances (40 starts, 18-7 record) in 2011 and 2013 at Wichita, became a first-time major leaguer when the Chisox promoted the 30-year-old to their pitching staff with the apparent intention of using the right-hander frequently.
“We hope we use (Guerra) a lot in good situations,” manager Robin Ventura told MLB.com. “We know he’s throwing the best”, a fact backed up by 66 strikeouts in 49.2 innings this season for the team’s top two farm clubs in Birmingham, AL and Charlotte, NC. “Not necessarily a lefty-righty matchup,” added Ventura. “More of you need guys to eat innings and fill innings.”
Guerra called the promotion “a very special moment. I’ve been pitching in many different countries (including Mexico, Hawaii and Italy in addition to his native Venezuela),” he told MLB.com. “I learned just to keep working and never put my head down. Always keep the optimism and confidence in my talent.”
He ranks in the top five in Wichita history in career wins, winning percentage, innings and strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Peralta, is somewhat the opposite of Guerra since he converted from pitching to the outfield, including a terrific 70-RBI, .332 season for Wichita in ’12 and half a campaign at Amarillo the next year (.352) before Arizona purchased his contract. The equivalent of nearly one complete season in the D-Backs’ farm system earned him a promotion to the National League.
Peralta is coming off a strong rookie season with Arizona (.286-8-36 in 88 games) and recently back from a finger injury, seems to have benefitted from the Diamondbacks’ trade of Mark Trumbo to Seattle which should give him and the other remaining outfielders more playing time although he told Arizona Sports 98.7 during an interview “that’s not my job.
“I will control whatever I can control. I’m just going to focus on being a good player and doing the little things to make the lineup the next day. So whatever decision they make, there’s nothing I can do. For me, every day is a special day to be here in the big leagues. Every day is the best day of my life in the big leagues.”
Peralta has been in 51 of Arizona’s 57 games with 17 of his 35 hits for extra bases. Only 27, the left-handed hitter is batting .257 with five home runs and 27 RBI, tied for second on the team.
Guerra 13th Association Grad in Majors in 2015
Junior Guerra became the 13th former American Association player to be on a major league roster this season (including Aaron Crow, who has been disabled all year), easily the most for any Independent league.
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.