Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Players Who Could Earn Promotions Soon

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Braxton Ashcraft

Braxton Ashcraft barely pitched between 2020 and 2022. The canceled '20 season meant that no minor leaguers got the opportunity to play competitively. Then in 2021, Ashcraft fit in 32.1 innings before having to undergo Tommy John surgery in August. That would mean he wouldn't appear in 2022, either. But Ashcraft has returned with a vengeance and is now looking to get moved to Altoona.

After two strong rehab starts at Bradenton, Ashcraft returned to Greensboro, the affiliate he was at before his untimely surgery. So far, in 14 innings and four starts, Ashcraft has allowed just five earned runs, and two walks and has struck out 12 batters. Opponents are only managing a .220 batting average against him as well. But of the 11 total hits he has allowed, three have left the ballpark.

Now do keep in mind that Ashcraft entered Tuesday's game with a HR/FB ratio of 25%. Greensboro is a hitter-friendly environment, and some of his poor numbers at High-A can be chalked up to a small sample size and luck in a pitcher-hostile climate.

Ashcraft was steadily working around 93-96 MPH during his last start at Bradenton on April 15th. That was about a month ago, and unfortunately, we don't have any up-to-date data, given that Greensboro doesn't have the luxury of Statcast data. Either way, the mid-90s is good for a guy who pitched less than 50 innings in three years, two of which he pitched zero innings in, and has returned as strong as he has.