Ranking the 10 most important young players for the Reds future

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Graham Ashcraft, Reds starting pitcher

Graham Ashcraft is a bit of an enigma, which is why he finds himself ranked No. 5. By the end of the season, the right-hander could find himself atop this list. That's how valuable Ashcraft could be to the long-term future of the Reds franchise.

Ashcraft is made for the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park. The former sixth-round draft pick keeps the ball on the ground. Ashcraft has a career ground ball-rate above 50-percent, and when the opposing hitter does loft one into the sky, it's likely not leaving the yard.

The debate is going to rage on for quite some time among the Cincinnati faithful - who is the Reds ace? Hunter Greene has the 100-plus mph heater. Nick Lodolo has that wicked breaking ball. But it's Graham Ashcraft's cutter that may be the best pitch of the three. If the right-hander continues to develop his slider, Ashcraft will be difficult to stop.

For now, let's comfortably slot Ashcraft at No. 5 with the understanding that he could vastly improve over the next couple of year. The rumors have already been swirling about a potential contract extension for the 25-year-old, so the fanbase should stay tuned.