The St. Louis Cardinals sent young pitcher Sam Tuivailala to the Seattle Mariners for hard-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Seth Elledge.
In a firestorm of moves that signaled a seemingly drastic change in the organization’s thinking, the St. Louis Cardinals moved three relievers to different teams while sending Brett Cecil to the DL. Sam Tuivailala was one of the unfortunate casualties of a struggling bullpen.
While he had his control problems at times, Tui was still one of the more reliable and lively relievers the Cardinals had this season. While his 3.96 ERA and 1.45 WHIP seem unsightly and were regressions from 2017, his 3.98 FIP ranked 5th in the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen.
The movement on his pitches, while still more gradual than late and sharp, are something to be lauded at his age. His four seam fastball, which has averaged over 95 mph, also has an average horizontal break of 5.37 inches and a spin generated vertical rise of 8.68 inches this season.
For comparison, Max Scherzer‘s four seamer has averaged a hair under 95 mph with 5.96 inch horizontal break and a 8.19 inch spin generated vertical rise in 2018.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Here is Willson Contreras’ first message for St. Louis fans
- How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
- Cardinals: The insane asking price the Athletics had for Sean Murphy
- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
Tui’s curveball and slider also each have above-average vertical and horizontal breaks, which translates to a copious amount of potential. However, he still hasn’t been able to get a great feel for his pitches, and falls behind against many of the batters he faces as a result. Despite this, his 61.8% first-strike rate is respectable, and shows that he still has plenty of room to grow.
Tui was always a class act, and he loved the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans. He posted this message of thanks to social media upon being traded:
While many St. Louis Cardinals fans had a sour taste in their mouth when it comes to Tuivailala because of his control issues, he is still just 25 years old and bursting with potential. I for one will miss him.
The return that the St. Louis Cardinals received was no slouch either. Seth Elledge was the Mariner’s 4th round pick in 2017, and he is another hard-throwing reliever who has preformed very well in his time in the minors. He has a 5-1 record with nine saves and a sparkling 1.17 ERA in Single A in 2018, and has struck out over 36% of the batters he faced.
The St. Louis Cardinals have called him up to Double-A Springfield as a reward for that performance.
The St. Louis Cardinals are clearly looking into the future with this trade, and the post-Matheny era moves don’t seem to be over yet. Leave your thoughts on this move or what moves lie in the future for the Cardinals in the comments below.