Reds continue to usher in new starting pitchers as Graham Ashcraft enters the rotation

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft. / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Graham Ashcraft got the call. The right-handed was selected to the Cincinnati Reds roster and will start tonight's series opener versus the San Francisco Giants.

While Ashcraft made his major league debut last Sunday, he was not technically added to the Reds 40-man roster, but was rather a replacement for one Cincinnati's players who was added to the restricted list while the team was in Canada.

This time though, it's for real. Ashcraft will make his first start in front of the home crowd at Great American Ball Park, and by the looks of things, the flamethrower might be sticking around for some time.

Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft has staying power.

Graham Ashcraft made his major league debut last Sunday in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Though Cincinnati won the game, Ashcraft did not collect the win. The right-hander went 4.1 innings, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out three batters.

Ashcraft is the latest in a long line of young pitching prospects the Cincinnati Reds have turned to recently. Vladimir Gutierrez performed well as a rookie last season, but has gotten off to a rocky start in 2022. Reiver Sanmartin made two starts at the end of last season, but was recently optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Hunter Greene has been hit hard, but has also shown quite a promise during his rookie campaign. Fellow rookie Nick Lodolo started out well, but a back injury has sidelined the lefty for the time being. There's also Connor Overton. At 28 years old, Overton is still considered a rookie, but he's on the IL as well.

The Reds made the unpopular decision earlier this offseason to trade Sonny Gray. Wade Miley was waived last fall and picked up by the Chicago Cubs. There have also been any number of trade rumors surrounding Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo.

Cincinnati knew they'd have a large group of young pitchers coming up through the farm system, and the front office was aware that they wouldn't have enough spots in the rotation for established starters and their top pitching prospects.

What the Reds starting rotation will look like at the end of the 2022 season is anyone's guess, but you'd have to assume that Graham Ashcraft, Hunter Greene, and Nick Lodolo will be part of it. If Ashcraft has success on Friday night, he might well replace Vladimir Gutierrez on a more permanent basis.

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