Last night in Chattanooga the Lookouts and their fans saw Graham Ashcraft make his Double-A debut. He had entered the game coming off of four consecutive starts without an earned run for the High-A Dayton Dragons. He kept that streak going on Wednesday.
The right-handed start took a perfect game into the 7th inning before the first batter legged out an infield single on a chopper, beating the throw by about a foot. The only other base runner allowed came in the top of the 9th inning on a blooper that landed just over the head of second baseman Brian Rey.
In all, Graham Ashcraft needed just 102 pitches to pick up the complete game shutout for the Lookouts, who not only saw a dominant pitching performance, but also so their offense go off in an 11-0 win with homers from Jose Barrero, Brian Rey, Mark Kolozsvary, and Chuckie Robinson.
During the game, Ashcraft had 12 ground outs and just four fly outs. He’s been that perfect combination of above-average strikeout rate and extremely high ground ball rate. For context, his 57% ground ball rate this year would be the second highest rate among starting pitchers in Major League Baseball this season if tossed into that group. His 33% strikeout rate would rank 7th in the Majors right between Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. Obviously High-A and Double-A are not the Major Leagues, but it does give context for how well he’s performing compared to the levels he’s at. That combination of strikeouts and ground balls, along with a 7% walk rate has led to a 5-1 record and a 1.89 ERA through 47.2 innings pitched.
Orel Hersheiser probably isn’t sweating too much worrying about his consecutive innings without an earned run being broken by Graham Ashcraft (though maybe he should worry about what Jacob deGrom is doing…..). But Ashcraft is now up to 32.0 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Over those five starts he’s allowed just 14 hits, walked six batters, struck out 38, and held hitters to a .133/.179/.143 line.
Logan Morrison providing instant help for Louisville
The Louisville Bats offense has been one of the worst in Triple-A this season. But they got some help last week when the Cincinnati Reds signed Logan Morrison out of the Atlantic League. It’s only been eight games for Morrison with the Bats, but he’s gone out and hit .370/.500/.704 with six extra-base hits and seven walks.
Francisco Urbaez remains hot for Dayton
The Dayton Dragons have the best record in the Cincinnati Reds farm system. After their win last night they are now 26-18 and in first place in the High-A Central East division. Francisco Urbaez has been a big part of that. The infielder has played in 28 games for Dayton this season and is now hitting .323 on the year after picking up another hit and a walk last night. On May 25th and 27th he went 0-4 and 0-3. In the 19 games since then he’s hit .373 with five extra-base hits and seven walks and failed to reach base in two games during that stretch.
Reiver Sanmartin ejected in Triple-A
On Tuesday night Reiver Sanmartin was the first player in the organization ejected from a game after being checked for foreign substances. There was something on the bill of his hat and after his second inning of work the umpires checked – they are checking every pitcher during the game – and confiscated his hat while also ejecting him from the game. As of right now no suspension has been announced, but I have been told that the punishment is the same as it is in Major League Baseball – a 10-game suspension.
Doug, what’s the outlook on Ashcraft? I’ve seen where he was projected to be a power reliever at the back end of the bullpen, but that seemed to be based off scouting reports from 2019 after he was drafted. I’ve got to imagine this success starting has him in line for more, right? Is he a legitimate starting pitcher prospect now? Where does he sit in the long-term pecking order with Castillo, Mahle, Greene, Lodolo, Gutierrez, Santillan, etc.?
Some odd questions – do coaches have any responsibility for what’s on SanMartin’s hat? Or any other pitchers equipment? Is Cornhuskers Lotion a banned sticky substance? Seems like improvised, mid-season, discretionary rules changes are not optimal.
Sanmartin 10-day suspension with pay. Isn’t that called a vacation ?
No because you still have to go to work. He’s not sitting at home watching Netflix or heading off to Huntington Beach to go surfing.