The Cardinals have added right-hander Seth Elledge and lefties Zack Thompson and Rob Kaminsky to their Summer Camp roster at Busch Stadium, MLB.com’s Anne Rogers tweets. Doing so means each has been added to the team’s 60-man player pool. The Cardinals’ initial pool contained 44 players, and they’ve since added third baseman Elehuris Montero to camp as well (although he was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, as were southpaws Genesis Cabrera and Ricardo Sanchez).
Thompson, 22, is both the most highly regarded of today’s trio of additions and also the furthest from the Majors. The University of Kentucky product was the Cardinals’ first-round pick (No. 19 overall) in 2019 and ranks as their No. 5 prospect at FanGraphs and MLB.com. Thompson, however, only pitched two innings of Rookie ball and 13 1/3 frames with the Cards’ Class-A Advanced club in 2019. His inclusion is likely more for developmental purposes than due to his status a a legitimate option in 2020. He was seen as something of an injury risk in the ’19 draft but draws praise for a plus curve and above-average changeup. He was with the team during the initial Spring Training and tossed three perfect innings with three strikeouts.
Both Elledge and Kaminsky are more likely to be called upon should a need arise in 2020. Elledge, 24, is a pure bullpen prospect who came to the Cards in the trade that sent Sam Tuivailala to the Mariners. He posted a lackluster 4.26 ERA in 67 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year, but his overall body of work as a pro is sharp — as was his work in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. Elledge has averaged nearly a dozen punchouts per nine innings pitched but also saw his walk rate jump in Triple-A last year (19 free passes in 34 1/3 innings). With John Brebbia out until 2021 (Tommy John surgery) and Jordan Hicks set to open the year on the IL while rehabbing his own Tommy John procedure, Elledge gives the Cards some right-handed relief depth.
Kaminsky, 25, was a first-round pick by the Cardinals back in 2013 but was traded to the Indians for Brandon Moss two years later. Things didn’t pan out for Kaminsky there, and after spending parts of five seasons in Cleveland’s minor league ranks, he became a minor league free agent this winter, ultimately landing with the Cards on a minors deal.
A 2017 forearm injury cost Kaminsky the entire year and may have helped prompt a shift to the bullpen. He was quite good as a reliever in Double-A both in 2018 and 2019, but he struggled in the supercharged offensive environment in Triple-A last year (5.11 ERA, 31-to-14 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 frames). Like Elledge, he’s a non-roster player but could conceivably see some MLB action in 2020 if the Cardinals need to tap into their depth.