The Royals probably may not be very competitive in 2020. We all have heard that. But they are set up to possibly be competitive in 2021 as all the pieces fall into place this year. Because of that, we need to start finding guys for our bullpen and getting them into place. Championship teams need championship bullpens. That’s why I am advocating for the Royals to trade for Cardinals minor league reliever Seth Elledge.
Elledge is a future big leaguer. I’m not saying he is a future champion bullpen piece, but I’m saying he might be. We don’t know yet. The longer he isn’t pitching at the highest level means the longer it takes until we find out if he can be a championship bullpen guy.
Elledge throws 94 with a strong slider and change. His fastball can work up or down in the zone and has some arm side run. He throws it down hill very well. The slider has strong downward movement falling out of the zone. He gets swings and misses because the spin is hard to see. The change is probably his least advanced pitch but he doesn’t use it much as a reliever. Elledge does get a lot of defensive swings as hitters fall behind in the count. Elledge just continues to attack.
Elledge spent time in the Arizona Fall League this season and made the Rising Stars team. He made 8 appearances pitching 9.0 innings allowing just 3 runs. Elledge gave up 9 hits, walked 2, and struck out 12. Elledge can get strike outs with both the fastball and slider. In late August, I saw a Triple-A batter swing at a slider that bounced in the LH batter’s box on a 1-1 count. The pitch is very deceptive.
Elledge was traded by the Mariners to the Cardinals two seasons ago and has been a relief pitcher since his days at Dallas Baptist University. Elledge has the potential to be a future high leverage bullpen arm. I’ve seen him pitch several times over the last two years while he was with Springfield.
The Cardinals stretched Elledge out a little late last season and I think it made him slightly less effective. He did have some issues adjusting to the triple-A ball early but seemed to get better as he gained experience.
For the Royals, Elledge would have a chance to make the bullpen coming out of spring training. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be far from a call up. If he stays with the Cardinals, he’ll probably pitch most if not all season in Memphis waiting for his chance. Either way, he has a chance to be a valuable pen guy soon.
Photo taken by Buck Davidson with MLB Photos from MiLB.com.