The Reds announced that they have placed right-hander Graham Ashcraft on the 15-day injured list due to a left calf contusion. In a corresponding move, they recalled right-hander Ricky Karcher, who will be making his major league debut as soon as he gets into a game.
Ashcraft was struck by a comebacker in his start yesterday and initially stayed in the game but it seems there are some lingering effects from that. The righty made his major league debut with a 4.89 ERA last year, getting ground balls at a strong 54.5% rate. However, this year’s results haven’t been as good, with a 47.6% grounder rate and 6.78 ERA. He’ll take at least a couple of weeks to heal up his calf and try to get in better form when he returns.
The Reds may not need to replace Ashcraft as they had been recently using a six-man rotation. Even without Ashcraft, they will still have Hunter Greene, Luke Weaver, Ben Lively, Brandon Williamson and Andrew Abbott. If they are fine with using a five-man set going forward, they could roll with that group.
As for Karcher, as mentioned up top, he has yet to make his major league debut. Now 25 years old, he was a 13th-round draft selection in 2017. He initially was working primarily as a starter but has pitched exclusively in relief since the minor leagues were canceled by the pandemic in 2020. He had a solid season last year, moving from Double-A to Triple-A. He tossed 56 2/3 innings between those two levels with a 3.65 ERA. His 15.9% walk rate was incredibly high, but he paired that with an excellent 35.1% strikeout rate.
At the end of that year, he was given a spot on the club’s 40-man roster to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. Baseball America then listed him as the club’s 23rd best prospect coming into this year. Here in 2023, he’s been lit up with a 9.27 ERA, though there are reasons to believe that figure might be somewhat misleading. His .362 batting average on balls in play and 52.5% strand rate are both on the unfortunate side, leading to a 6.64 FIP. That’s still not great and is likely due to a frightening 27% walk rate, though he’s been better lately. Since May 3, he has a 2.40 ERA and 18.8% walk rate.