The annual Rule 5 Draft takes place THIS MORNING at 11 am CT. The Kansas City Royals hold the 2nd pick of the draft, just like they will during the amateur draft next June. With that being said, we’ll be doing as much Rule 5 coverage as possible today here at Royals Farm. For this stop, here’s a look at a guy that I think the Royals will potentially be looking at if he’s available at #2.
Here are the potential draftees we’ve covered already:
- Jairo Beras
- Zach Thompson
- Ray-Patrick Didder
- Jackson McClellan
- Reed Garrett
- Riley Ferrell
- Trevor Clifton
Chris Ellis is a 26-year old RHP from the St. Louis Cardinals organization that stands 6′ 5″ 205 lbs. His fastball sits anywhere in the 91-95 mph range but has the potential (in my opinion) to consistently be 93-95 if he moves to the bullpen. His slider is his second best offering with some decent break and a chance to be a slightly above average major league offering. Here is a quote from a write up that FanGraphs did on Ellis a couple years ago:
“Once part of the package returned from Anaheim in exchange for Andrelton Simmons, Ellis’ command issues and lack of a quality changeup at age 24 point to a likely role in middle relief. In 146 innings between Double- and Triple-A, Ellis struck out 126, walked 87 and posted a 4.49 ERA. He was mostly 90-94 in his Arizona Fall League stint with an average, vertically breaking slider in the 78-83 mph range. He generates good plane on the fastball because of his overhand arm slot. His changeup is below average, as is his command, and the change has little projection because it’s hard to create movement on it from Ellis’ arm slot. If the fastball/slider tick up in relief, he’s a solid big-league middle-inning piece.”
Since this write up, however, Ellis has improved his command immensely. In 99 (17 starts) innings at AA in 2017, Ellis brought his walk rate down to 2.91 BB/9. In 53.2 IP (7 starts) at AA in 2018, his BB/9 was down to 2.68. And in 79 IP (14 starts) at AAA in 2018, Ellis owned a BB/9 of just 2.39. Drastic improvement for a guy who had to improve his control to have any shot of being a big league starter.
The St. Louis Cardinals have done a fantastic job of developing pitchers in recent history, so plucking a pitcher from their system would be a really good get for the Royals. I’m not sure what kind of upside he has or what kind of long-term value he would provide, but he could certainly be a candidate to get some starts in KC in 2019. On a Royals team that will have lots of young arms, a guy like Ellis that could chew through some innings may prove to be a valuable commodity.
Ellis isn’t much of a prototypical strike out guy, but he did strike out 9.39 batters per 9 IP at AA in 2018 and he has his moments, as you can see in the tweet above. This is a move I wouldn’t mind for Kansas City, especially if they choose to gamble on a project guy like Jairo Beras in the draft as well.
Photo Credits: TheCardinalNation.com