Graham Ashcraft should be recalled to replace Connor Overton in the Reds rotation

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft (51) makes his MLB debut.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft (51) makes his MLB debut. / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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Connor Overton, after wowing so many doubters during his first few starts in 2022, is headed to the Injured List with a stress reaction in his back. The injury, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, is likely to sideline the right-hander for six-to-eight weeks.

The Cincinnati Reds will turn to Vladimir Gutierrez on Monday night versus the Chicago Cubs, but the right-hander had already been reassigned to the bullpen. Unless Gutierrez surprises all of us with a shutout performance of the Cubbies, Graham Ashcraft should take Overton's spot in the Reds rotation.

Ashcraft was called upon over the weekend to replace Tyler Mahle who was placed on the restricted list while the Reds went North of the border to the play the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.

Overton was originally slated to pitch in Cincinnati's finale versus Toronto, but instead, Ashcraft saw a major league mound for the first time.

Graham Ashcraft should replace Connor Overton in the Reds rotation.

Graham Ashcraft had a successful major league debut with the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. While the right-hander didn't get the win, Ashcraft certainly showed why scouts and the Reds player development team have thought so highly of him.

Ashcraft went 4.1 innings work and threw 76 pitches in his debut. The power-throwing right-hander allowed two runs on four hits and managed to strikeout three Blue Jays hitters.

Ashcraft employs a three-pitch mix with a sinker, slider, and a cut fastball. That sinker is Ashcraft's bread and butter and according to Baseball Savant, the 24-year-old was averaging 97.2 mph with that pitch and topped out at 99.7 mph.

The Reds don't have many other options. Currently, the only healthy starters in the rotation are Tyler Mahle, Hunter Greene, and Luis Castillo. Mike Minor is close to full strength, but still on a rehab assignment, and Nick Lodolo is still weeks away from returning to the team.

Vladimir Gutierrez is not the answer, and with Graham Ashcraft performing so well in his first MLB game, the Cincinnati Reds should give the right-hander another chance to prove that he's ready for the big leagues.

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