The Reds announced they’ve selected pitching prospect Graham Ashcraft onto the roster to make tonight’s start against the Giants. They also reinstated veteran lefty Ross Detwiler from bereavement leave, optioning corner infielder Colin Moran and reliever Jared Solomon to Triple-A Louisville in corresponding moves. To create space for Ashcraft on the 40-man roster, southpaw Justin Wilson has been transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
It’s the second time Ashcraft has been called to the majors, but he’ll be in line for a much longer stint this time around. The 24-year-old first came up as a designated COVID-19 substitute for a series in Toronto, as the Reds placed a handful of players on the restricted list due to their vaccination status. That designation allowed Cincinnati to send him back to the minor leagues and off the 40-man roster without passing through waivers after one start. Ashcraft worked 4 1/3 innings during his MLB debut, allowing two runs with a trio of strikeouts.
A sixth round selection in the 2019 draft, Ashcraft has been impressive enough in the minors to jump into Baseball America’s list of top Reds prospects, coming in at #30 last year and jumping all the way to #9 this year. Last year, he split his time between High-A and Double-A, throwing 111 combined innings with an even 3.00 ERA, 28.4% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate. He got bumped up to Triple-A this year and has thrown 32 2/3 frames so far with a 1.65 ERA. His 20% strikeout rate and 11.3% walk rate are actually not that impressive, though he’s succeeding thanks to an incredible 71.4% ground ball rate.
Connor Overton recently landed on the injured list, joining Mike Minor, Nick Lodolo and Justin Dunn as the Reds’ starters out of action. Minor is on rehab and is expected back soon, joining Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez in the rotation. Despite that, it doesn’t seem like this is a mere spot start for Ashcraft, with manager David Bell telling reports (including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that he’ll stick in the rotation going forward. That means that the club either plans on carrying a six-man rotation for a while, or someone else will be getting the bump.
As for Wilson, he was placed on the injured list April 27 due to soreness in his left elbow. With this transfer, he’ll be ineligible to return to the big league club until 60 days from that original placement, which would be late June. The lefty exercised a $2.3MM player option for this year, which was a part of the deal he originally signed with the Yankees. He’s only been able to throw 3 2/3 innings so far this year and will now be out for at least another month.