Graham Ashcraft could be destined for the Reds bullpen if he doesn't return to form

No second-year player on the Cincinnati Reds roster has endured more struggles than Graham Ashcraft.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

When the Cincinnati Reds selected Graham Ashcraft in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, they believed the potential was there for him to become a solid starting pitcher.

Not known as a strikeout pitcher, Ashcraft relied on soft contact and solid defense behind him in order to have success. Last season, Ashcraft appeared in 19 games, going 5-6 with an ERA of 4.89. The 25-year-old was seen as a frontline starter heading into the 2023 season.

But, with the struggles Ashcraft has suffered this season, combined with the influx of solid starting pitchers coming up through the Reds organization, the right-hander will be destined for the bullpen if he doesn't turn things around.

Graham Ashcraft could be destined for the Reds bullpen if he doesn't return to form.

Graham Ashcraft has made 14 starts this season, but in his last eight outings has failed to last at least six innings and owns a 12.82 ERA during that stretch.

Ashcraft has easily been outperformed by every other starter currently on the Cincinnati Reds active roster, including rookies Andrew Abbott and Brandon Williamson. Ashcraft's 55 earned runs tops all pitchers, with Luke Weaver's 46 earned runs a distant second.

The Cincinnati Reds starting rotation has been ravaged by injuries this season, with Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Ben Lively, and Connor Overton all currently on the injured list. Ashcraft himself missed some time on the IL with a bruised leg.

Once the Reds starting rotation is fully healthy, Graham Ashcraft may well lose his spot. When healthy, Greene, Lodolo, and Abbott are going to comprise 60-percent of the starting rotation.

The other 40-percent is a toss up. If Graham Ashcraft wants to remain part of the starting rotation, he's going to have to outperform the likes of Luke Weaver, Ben Lively, and Brandon Williamson.

That seemed like an easy task prior to the start of the start of the 2023 season, but Ashcraft's struggles have only gotten worse. If he doesn't turn things around, Ashcraft is destined for a spot in the Reds bullpen.

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