Graham Ashcraft hasn’t pitched since September 1 due to a stress reaction in his right big toe, and Gordon Wittenmyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer (X link) reports that the Reds right-hander is slated to undergo surgery on the toe on Tuesday. This procedure would seemingly mark the end of Ashcroft’s 2023 season.
It has been an inconsistent campaign for the 25-year-old, which perhaps isn’t surprising for a low-strikeout pitcher who relies heavily on ground balls. Ashcraft posted a 2.00 ERA over his first six starts and 36 innings of the season, was then rocked for a 12.82 ERA over his next eight starts and 33 innings, and then righted the ship again by delivering a 2.58 ERA over his last 12 starts and 76 2/3 frames.
All told, Ashcraft has a 4.76 ERA over 145 2/3 innings, as well as a 47.8% grounder rate. His 17.8% strikeout rate is only in the 13th percentile of all pitchers, while his walk and hard-hit ball rates are almost exactly league average. Ashcraft is a hard thrower who averages at least 95.8 mph on both his cutter (his primary pitch) and his sinker, but his velocity hasn’t translated into many missed bats.
Despite the wide variance in results, Ashcraft’s ability to deliver solid bottom-line numbers for the majority of the season has been a boon to a Reds team desperate for reliable starting pitching. His absence for the remainder of 2023 is a blow to Cincinnati’s postseason hopes, as the Reds are battling five other teams for the NL’s three wild card slots. Without Ashcraft providing any further help, the Reds will continue to rely on their young lineup and steady bullpen, as well as whatever they can get from an increasingly makeshift rotation.
Read More: Reds’ Graham Ashcraft Scheduled For Season-Ending Toe Surgery 2023-09-17 00:17:19