Last night saw Graham Ashcraft take the mound for the second time since his demotion to Triple-A Louisville. The first time out he was solid, picking up a quality start by giving up three runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in six innings. On Thursday in Omaha he was much better than that.

Ashcraft threw six innings of 1-run baseball against the Storm Chasers. Like his first outing he allowed five hits and had one walk, but this time he avoided giving up a home run, and this time he also doubled the number of strikeouts as he had eight of them.

The slider was working well for Ashcraft on the night. He threw 40 of them. Batters swung at 24 of them. They missed completely on 12 of them. That’s a 50% whiff rate and it accounted for 12 of the 15 swings-and-misses he had on the night. It’s Triple-A, so the comparison isn’t 1-to-1, but Ashcraft has not had that many swinging strikes in a start since August 9th of 2023. The time prior to that was on June 30th of 2023. Those were the only two times he had more than 15 as a big leaguer.

Checking in on Noelvi Marte

While still serving his suspension for a positive PED back in spring training, Noelvi Marte was able to begin a rehab assignment on June 11th. Cincinnati sent him directly to Triple-A. He went 2-5 with a double and a run scored in his first game. Things have slowed down a bit since. In his eight games played with Louisville he’s gone 7-36 with a double, no walks, and 10 strikeouts. That’s good for a .194/.194/.222 line to this point. He’s struggled lifting the ball thus far, posting a 58% groundball rate (MLB league average is 43%).

Marte’s suspension will be up on June 27th as long as no game between today and then is postponed and not made up before then for Cincinnati. On that day he has to be added back to the 40-man roster but he doesn’t have to be added back to the big league roster. The Reds could option him to the minor leagues at that point. If he doesn’t start to hit over the next week that might be a real option that they take and then reassess things if and when he starts heating up at the plate.

18 Responses

  1. Optimist

    It may be a tough call on where Marte goes next week, but it’s not like everyone on the 26-man is taking a spot for him. If nothing else, he’d upgrade the infield defensively.

  2. MBS

    Ashcraft should be up if his next start goes well.

    I was hoping Marte would be in the Reds lineup on game 81, but we already have enough guys not hitting on the Reds. It would be smart to let him get his swing back in AAA before bringing him up.

    • Reaganspad

      I think the Ashcraft move was a wise step. Young guys have to grow up, and nothing gets their attention more than getting a bus pass for away games. It is how you react to your situation that separates professionals. Good move by Ashcraft to work on what it is they asked him to do and to respond like he has.

      Marte does not have anything given to him. If the PEDs penalty was because he has some tainted foods in his home country, then just get after it. Don’t try to do to much, let the game come to you like you did last year.

      We just cannot afford a Brian Bosworth scenario where he cannot play without his proton energy pill. We should know soon enough.

      but we can sure use 2023 Marte right now, As well as early and late Ashcraft (lets hope the mid 2023 Ashcraft is being worked out at AAA)

  3. LDS

    I don’t think it’s a hard decision at all. Leave him in Louisville for a bit longer and let him get his rhythm. His rehab assignment, if ended next week, is a bit short to be ready. Give him time, the Reds aren’t going anywhere.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree. My first inclination was to say leave him at AAA until the All Star break; but, the break this year isn’t till July 15, which is 23 games away. So, I’ll say leave him down until he starts to look like the hitter he was at AAA last season.

    • JayTheRed

      I too agree, Marte needs to get his dirt legs under him again before they even consider calling him up again. If he is hitting badly in AAA he sure isn’t going to help the MLB team.

  4. RedsMonk65

    Also read somewhere that Alex Blandino has been assigned to low-A Daytona. Still listed as a 2B, but I think his quest to become a knuckleballer continues. Will be interesting to see how that all develops!

  5. Indy Red Man

    I mentioned this before, but last year we faced Milw with GA vs Burnes and their stuff was very very similar. GA isn’t far away imo, but has to fine tune it.

    Marte idk? Everyone was so hyped last year, but he didn’t show much power. Elly, McLain, Freidl, and Candy drive the bus and if we’ve only got 2 then forget it. Guys have to be in the lineup regularly no matter who the manager is

    • Jim Walker

      Guys have to be in the lineup regularly no matter who the manager is

      If I was the manager’s boss, I would send him a note when I called up Marte saying that Marte was the everyday 3B which means he starts at least 5 games a week at 3B and is not subbed out or switched around to enable other subbing. Advise me in advance of any required variation from this directive.

      • Jim t

        Bell will start him. Just like the other young players are getting their chance.

      • Melvin

        I wander if it’s a situation in this case where that manager would say, “I’ll go over your head then”. Who knows with this organization?

    • JB

      “but he didn’t show much power. ” Man the guy hit .316 and if he did that this year he would be light years ahead of everybody. Not sure why you are obsessed with power when everyone b&#ches about the lineup only gets 5 hits a game. Give me a guy who hits .316 over your boy Benson who hits for power. We see how great that is working out this year.

      • Melvin

        The obsession with power in baseball right now is ridiculous. Besides, the ball is dead this year anyway.

    • Mauired

      Marte slugged .450 in minors and majors last year.

      • Jason Franklin

        What does it matter if he slugged a million if the rest of the team can’t get on base? If he can hit .300 with 10-15 homers a year and play above average defense at 3rd base you have a potential all star on your hands. Is that really so bad?

  6. Frogem

    Let’s see, an 0.820 ops. ‘Nuf said about power I would think. For a young hitter finding his way at the mlb level last year, Marte’s lower was just fine. I prefer he fins his plate discipline first and let the power follow. He did that lin spades last year.

  7. Roddy Jenkins

    I believe the Reds should move forward for 2024 with the thought that Encarnacion-Strand & McLain are not going to contribute. They need to get Marte into the lineup as soon as possible after 27 June to have any chance at earning at least a wildcard. Thank God we didn’t trade India prior to the season!