After several really good starts for Bryce Elder recently the Atlanta Braves have to be considering him on the postseason roster either as a starter or reliever.
It’s been the year of the rookies for the Atlanta Braves getting several huge performances from players in their first year at the big league level.
And while a lot of the attention is given to Michael Harris, Spencer Strider, and Vaughn Grissom — rightfully so — it was Bryce Elder that got it started.
After tossing 7.2 scoreless, hitless innings in Spring Training, the 23-year-old earned a spot in the starting rotation to begin the year.
His first start of the year came against the Nationals and he cruised through 5 innings. He ended up allowing 3 ER on 6 hits over 5.2 innings with no walks and 4 strikeouts.
Unfortunately, that command didn’t last as he walked 14 batters over his next three starts before being optioned to Triple-A.
He never allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of those four starts, but because of the walks and high pitch count, he was only able to get through 5 innings once (in that first start).
Elder wasn’t particularly great with Gwinnett in May and June, but really picked it up in July with a 2.48 ERA and 1.10 WHIP going 5.2 innings or more in all 5 July starts.
Since then he’s been up-and-down with the Braves, but in his last four starts, he’s allowed just 2 earned runs over four starts (27.2 innings) with just 15 hits allowed.
Let’s not glaze over the obvious, in those four starts he’s faced the Marlins twice and the Nationals twice — not exactly offensive juggernauts.
Still, you have to get it done and Elder certainly has.
He’s now made 3 starts against the Nats this year and has allowed 4 earned runs on 16 hits and 3 walks over 20.1 innings with 16 strikeouts.
Braves Postseason: Where Does Bryce Elder Fit
A lot depends on the health of Spencer Strider, but Bryce Elder could certainly fit on the Braves postseason pitching staff either way.
But if Strider isn’t healthy, do we see Elder get a start if the Braves continue to advance? Is he their fourth-best starter right now?
I certainly don’t trust Jake Odorizzi.
But even if he’s not used as a starter, Elder would be a solid option as a long reliever if a starter gets bounced early.
Elder could also be someone you bring in with a runner on base if you need a groundball double-play.
That sinker has so much movement on it and generates a lot of weak groundballs like we saw on Monday night.
On the season he has a 50 percent groundball rate — not too far behind Kyle Wright who is among the league leaders in groundball percentage at 55.6 percent.
There’s a lot to be determined over the next week-plus, but Elder has proven he has some value on this pitching staff in the postseason.