Cincinnati Reds: 3 under-the-radar prospects who’ll turn heads in 2021

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: A pair of Franklin batting gloves and a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 7, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: A pair of Franklin batting gloves and a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 7, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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A Cincinnati Reds Rawlings glove on the field during the Spring Training game.
GOODYEAR, FL – MARCH 11: A Cincinnati Reds Rawlings glove on the field during the Spring Training game. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /

3. Graham Ashcraft, Reds 2019 sixth-round pick

You had to know we’d be discussing an under-the-radar pitcher. I mean, we’re talking about Spincinnati after all, right? Former sixth-round pick Graham Ashcraft can certainly spin it, and we know that Cincinnati Reds pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy is going to work wonders with this future big leaguer.

Ashcraft was taken in the 12th round of the 2016 MLLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the right-hander decided against signing a contract and went to the University of Alabama. After undergoing two hip surgeries, Ashcraft transferred to UAB where he excelled and the Reds took a flier on the flamethrower in the sixth-round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Ashcraft mixed a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with an impressive slider and has the look of a future reliever at the major league level. With Cincinnati in desperate need of a quality arm or two at the back end of the bullpen, the Reds coaching staff will be waiting with great anticipation for Ashcraft to make his way through the minor leagues.

Graham Ashcraft will start the 2021 season at Low-A Daytona. Several of Cincinnati’s top prospects will descend on the Sunshine State with fellow hurlers Lyon Richardson and Noah Davis joining the Tortugas starting rotation.

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Ashcraft has an extremely high spin-rate on both his heater and his breaking pitch will no doubt play well in Cincinnati’s farm system. If he can harness those two pitches and stay free of injury in 2021, Ashcraft could skyrocket up through the minor leagues.