Graham Ashcraft would seem to have little left to prove at Triple-A Louisville. After seeing the Cincinnati Reds add the right-hander to the team's taxi squad before the club heads to Toronto would seem to signify that Ashcraft is nearly ready to make his big league debut.
Ashcraft was said to be in competition for one of the final spots in the Reds rotation this spring. In the end, the nod was given to Tyler Mahle, Reiver Sanmartin, Vladimir Gutierrez, Hunter Greene, and Nick Lodolo.
Since Opening Day, both Sanmartin and Gutierrez have lost their spot in the rotation and Lodolo has landed on the IL with a back injury. Luis Castillo has rejoined the rotation after being sidelined for the first month of the season.
Most recently, Mike Minor appears to be one rehab start away from making his Reds debut. There's also Connor Overton, who is the only Reds pitcher to have given manager David Bell two quality starts this season.
Will Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft make his major league debut soon?
With so many moving parts, it's mildly odd to see Graham Ashcraft added to the Cincinnati Reds taxi squad. The taxi squad idea was introduced during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but with teams still placing players on the COVID IL, it's not surprising to see Major League Baseball maintain the concept in 2022.
Essentially, when a team goes on a road trip, it enables the club to have a handful of replacement players that can step in should someone become ill or injured. Once the Reds return from their road trip, Ashcraft and Taylor Motter (who was also added to the taxi squad) will have to return to Triple-A. Each team may have up to five players on the taxi squad, with one of those players being a catcher.
Ashcraft has been dominant in seven starts for the Louisville Bats this season. The hard-throwing right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA. The Alabama native has 30 punch outs in 32.2 innings of work.
While Graham Ashcraft may not have those flashy strikeout numbers that everyone loves to see, the 24-year-old keeps the ball on the ground. According to FanGraphs, Ashcraft has a ground ball rate of 71.4%. Last year at Double-A Chattanooga, that number was 60.5%.
Some folks throughout Reds Country will be waiting with bated breath to see Ashcraft make his major league debut. They may not have to wait very long. Even if Ashcraft does not debut this weekend in Toronto, the fact that he was added to the taxi squad is very good news.