Reds: 3 fast-rising minor leaguers who could be trade bait

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Alejo Lopez (98) fields a ground ball.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Alejo Lopez (98) fields a ground ball. /
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A close up view of a hat and baseball glove in the dugout with the New Era logo before a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs
CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 14: A close up view of a hat and baseball glove in the dugout with the New Era logo before a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

3. Graham Ashcraft, Reds minor league pitcher

This is a player who’s making a name for himself, and the only way the Cincinnati Reds should part with Graham Ashcraft is if they’re able to secure the services of a high-level reliever who is more than just a rental. Ashcraft has just a 7% walk-rate and a combined record of 5-1 between Advanced-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Ashcraft’s ERA during that time is 1.89.

Ashcraft has 63 punch outs in 47.2 innings and a 0.90 WHIP this season. Those numbers are quite good, and the right-hander has the look of a future major league starting pitcher. That’s something the Cincinnati Reds cannot just give up on, but Ashcraft is also an asset that could be used to lure away a key piece for the bullpen.

Would a player like Ashcraft be enough to pry a reliever like Richard Rodriguez away from the Pittsburgh Pirates? How about snagging Kendall Graveman from the Seattle Mariners? Some talented arms are likely to be available, and a pitcher like Ashcraft could be the centerpiece of such a deal.

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We have said it time and time again; if the Cincinnati Reds truly hope to compete for the National League Central Division title, they have to improve the league’s worst bullpen. Cincinnati has some fast-rising minor league talent who could be used as trade bait in the coming weeks. Will the Reds pull the trigger and use some of these talented players to secure some relief help? Time will tell.