Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Rule 5 Daft Decisions Loom Ahead of Deadline

The deadline to add Rule 5 eligible prospects to the 40-Man roster has arrived and the Pittsburgh Pirates have some decisions to make on who to protect and who to leave unprotected before 6 p.m. tonight.
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Right-Handed Pitcher, Braxton Ashcraft

Following a dominant season across High-A and Double-A in 2023, the 23-year-old pitcher seems to be the most likely prospect to be added to the Pirates 40-Man roster. Since joining the Pirates, Ashcraft struggled early on in his minor league career, but took tremendous strides during the 2023 season. After being promoted from High-A Greensboro to Double-A Altoona, Ashcraft posted a 1.35 ERA, 1.88 FIP, and a 0.95 WHIP across 20 innings pitched and 8 starts. Ashcraft struck out 29.1% of the batters he faced, only walked 5 batters, and didn’t allow a single home run with the Curve.

Considering that Ashcraft has barely pitched over the last few years, the Pirates have been very careful with the amount of innings he’s been pitching, which explains why he has barely pitched extensive innings per start this season. According to MLB Pipeline, Ashcraft is listed as the organization's no. 12 prospect and it would be a tremendous shock if he is not protected from the Rule 5 Draft. If Ashcraft is not protected, it would be highly likely that he gets selected by another team in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.