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Reds Send Down Struggling Righty to AAA Louisville

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

CINCINNATI, OH: The Reds sent Graham Ashcraft, a struggling right-hander, to Triple-A Louisville. Reliever Emilio Pagan, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a triceps ailment, will take his place on the roster, per the club.

The 26-year-old Ashcraft hasn't been optioned to the minor leagues since May 2022, the day after making his Major League debut as a spot starter.

For Cincinnati in 2022, the 2019 sixth-round pick started 19 games; in 2021, he started 26 more games. He would have been eligible for a full season of starts in the Reds rotation last season if it weren't for a calf issue and a stress reaction in his foot.

Despite his inconsistent play, Ashcraft has occasionally had the appearance of a third or fourth starter in the Reds' rotation. His K-BB profile didn't exactly support that kind of success, but he was demonstrating strong ground-ball tendencies and finding success with a new cutter and redesigned slider that looked far better than his 2022 version of the same pitch. He began the previous season with a dominant 2.00 ERA in his first six trips to the hill.

Though not quite to the same degree as the shockingly bad season of last year, the 2024 campaign has been difficult. With a well below average strikeout rate of 17.4%, Ashcraft presently has a 5.05 ERA, but he also has a great walk rate of 7.5% and an appealing ground ball rate of 49%.

Nevertheless, Ashcraft has recently battled with efficiency after going into the sixth inning in five of his first six outings this season and averaging more than six innings per start during the final stretch of last year.

In his last six visits to the hill, he has only pitched into the sixth once. During this run, he's averaging less than 4 2/3 frames per outing, but he's needed an average of 89 pitches to get there.

The move to AAA is a hopeful one for Ashcraft and the Reds. Some time spent in the minors might be exactly what the youngster needs to get back to his dominant form in Cincinnati.

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