Despite a poor outing, this pitcher is the ace of the Reds staff

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

The Cincinnati Reds top three starting pitchers have been solid solid this season. Sure, each has had his fair share of hiccups along the way, but that's to be expected from time to time in Year 2.

With Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft all in their second season, the sample size is starting to grow.

Lodolo seemed like the front-runner in spring training to be the team's ace. Greene, however, got the nod on Opening Day along with a new contract extension. But after seven trips through the rotation this year, is Ashcraft actually the Reds ace?

Graham Ashcraft is the ace of the Reds starting rotation.

When you think of a team's ace, what pops into your mind? Is it the big flashy name? Maybe it's the guy who has the best stats on the roster. Another definition of an ace is someone who can go out there every fifth day and pick the team up when it's needed.

Although the sample size isn't the biggest, Graham Ashcraft has done just that. The stats are not overly dominant, and Ashcraft, for sure, doesn't lead the team across the board in evert statistical category.







Hunter Greene






Nick Lodolo






Graham Ashcraft






The stats aren't dominant, but the starts are. Before his untimely atrocious outing on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, Ashcraft worked deep into all six games he started. Ashcraft made it into the sixth inning in five of those six starts and once worked all the way into the seventh.

Those five starts of six or more innings pitched by Ashcraft are almost double Greene and Lodolo's combined (6). Each time Ashcraft is handed the ball the right-hander has shown time and time again that he can go out and work deep into games.

The 54-percent ground ball rate has proven to play well inside a hitter's friendly ballpark. Mix that with his uptick in spin rate per Baseball Savant, along with the much-improved slider he is throwing this year, and Graham Ashcraft has found other ways to get the job done outside of the flashy ways.

The Cincinnati Reds need a workhorse. Someone who will go out there time after time and give you a quality start. Graham Ashcraft might not have the jump-off-the-page stats, but so far this year, he has been the most consistent starter in the Reds rotation.

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