The Reds have had some “preliminary talks” with Graham Ashcraft’s camp a few potential contract extension, in keeping with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The report comes just some days after information broke that Hunter Greene had signed a six-year, $53MM extension with the membership, and Cincinnati can also be apparently wanting right into a long-term take care of Nick Lodolo.
As Nightengale’s phrasing would counsel, it doesn’t seem the Reds and Ashcraft’s reps on the Bledsoe Company are essentially shut on a deal, or even when negotiations have gone past an exploratory stage. Nonetheless, it is sensible that the Reds would additionally flip to Ashcraft of their makes an attempt to achieve some long-term management and value certainty over their younger rotation members, although talks with Ashcraft might take a distinct form than the negotiations with Greene or Lodolo.
For one, Ashcraft’s path to the large leagues has include lots much less fanfare. Each Greene and Lodolo have been extremely touted first-round draft picks (Greene second total in 2017, Lodolo seventh total in 2019) and fixtures on top-100 prospect rankings throughout their time in Cincinnati’s farm system. In contrast, Ashcraft was a sixth-round decide within the 2019 draft, although he made a fairly fast stand up the ladder after posting a 3.33 ERA and 26.17% strikeout fee over 203 profession innings within the minors.
Ashcraft made his MLB debut final Could as a COVID-related substitute on the Reds’ roster, after which after a short return to Triple-A got here again to the large leagues for good lower than every week later. The righty’s rookie 12 months noticed him put up a 4.89 ERA over 105 innings, displaying elite velocity (97.1mph on his fastball), a 54.5% grounder fee, an above-average 6.5% stroll fee, and strong work in limiting onerous contact. Ashcraft didn’t miss many bats, nonetheless, as his 15.3% strikeout fee was one of many decrease marks within the majors. To this point in 2023, the superior metrics haven’t beloved Ashcraft’s work, however he has a formidable 1.88 ERA over 24 innings, whereas producing groundballs 57.8% of the time — a .250 BABIP has undoubtedly contributed to Ashcraft’s success given this grounder-heavy strategy.
That is nothing new for Ashcraft, whose total grounder fee within the minors topped the 55% threshold. Between that potential to keep away from fly balls and his excessive velo, there’s some attention-grabbing potential for the 25-year-old going ahead, even when Ashcraft has but to essentially present any strikeout potential on the MLB stage. If Greene and Lodolo might need extra of a front-of-the-rotation ceiling, Ashcraft has proven early indicators that he might settle in as a cushty mid-rotation arm.
Since Ashcraft is already managed via the 2028 season, there isn’t essentially any urgency on the Reds’ half to achieve a long-term deal. It’s maybe value questioning if Ashcraft is perhaps extra open to an extension as a way to lock within the first huge payday of his professional profession. Ashcraft agreed to a modest $247.5K signing bonus after being drafted, versus the a lot bigger bonuses obtained by Lodolo ($5.4MM) and Greene ($7.23MM) befitting their increased draft standing.