Pittsburgh Pirates: Early Look at Potential Rule 5 Draft Decisions

Here's an early look at some potential Rule 5 Draft decisions the Pirates may have to make

Dec 7, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; A general view during the MLB Rule 5 Draft at the 2022 MLB Winter
Dec 7, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; A general view during the MLB Rule 5 Draft at the 2022 MLB Winter / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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Pitcher Braxton Ashcraft

Assuming he also doesn’t make his Major League debut by the end of the season, the Pirates will likely protect Braxton Ashcraft from the Rule 5 Draft. Ashcraft has a 2.39 ERA, 2.84 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP through 52.2 innings. He’s struck out nearly 30% of opponents faced with a 29.6% strikeout rate while also keeping an elite 5.2% walk rate. His HR/9 also sits at a quality 0.68-per-9 rate.

Keep in mind, this is after barely pitching over the last three years. But the Pirates have been cautious with Ashcraft, not letting him reach five innings in any start. But given that he’s made such a strong comeback and is pitching so well at Double-A, it would be malpractice not to protect him.