Even though it’s far more common now, working a player back from Tommy John surgery can still be tricky. You obviously want to be cautious, easing the pitcher back slowly to begin the season, eventually ramping up to a more traditional workload.
When Braxton Ashcraft stepped on the mound April 9 for Bradenton, it was the first time he had done so in a minor league game since July of 2021, missing all of last season recovering from Tommy John.
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) April 9, 2023
The Pirates have been cautious with the former second round pick in 2018, although at this point it’s got to be getting harder to do so.
They recently worked in a week off in May to try and prevent overworking his arm, and has spent his two previous outings ramping back up.
He expanded beyond just an inning of work on Saturday, pitching three innings against the Winston Salem Dash. When it was all said and done, he allowed two runs (one earned) and four hits while striking out three.
According to the broadcast, he was working in the 96-98 mph range with his fastball over the first two innings, with no mention of it in his final frame.
Not only is he up there in velocity, he’s controlling it very well. In 25.1 total innings pitched, Ashcraft has walked just three batters (3% walk rate), while striking out 29. Most of that damage with the strikeouts was in Bradenton while he was on his rehab assignment, with 18 in the 19 innings he’s thrown since making it back to Greensboro.
The old regime was really high on Ashcraft, giving him an over slot deal to get him signed back in 2018. Given his age, it wouldn’t seem to be out of the question to see him in Double-A Altoona at some point, with it still in mind that he’ll be on a strict pitch limit throughout the season.
Ashcraft was recently added to the Pirates Top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline, and it’s been easy to see why.
Attention immediately goes to Anthony Solometo and Bubba Chandler in the lower levels, for good reason, but Ashcraft adds an extra name and more depth in players to watch to see if they can make the next step in their development.
Daily Video Rundown
Here’s a look at Ashcraft while he was still in high school before the Pirates drafted him.
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 3, 2023
Probably no way in telling who has the record for hitting the roller coaster the most, but Mason Martin has to be up there.
As Shim warmed, the swings became less confident & the k’s piled up. He had 6 to go with 1BB, 2H an ER & a HBP (really 2 bc it bounced off Braylin Tavera then hit my finger)
Maikol again got 3 filthy offerings #strikeouts pic.twitter.com/bAH1JFHn5J
— Florida Prospect Report (@FLProspectPod) June 3, 2023
A great look at Jun-Seok Shim in his start in extended Spring Training on Saturday. The complex league is getting ready to start, and it looks like he will be working out the rotation then. If you have Twitter, there are multiple parts to that thread, with more looks at him.
PIRATES PROSPECTS DAILY
By Tim Williams
This weekend we are launching two new features on Pirates Prospects. The first one is a new place to discuss games and read about the daily results: Pirates Prospects Live.
The second is a daily Pirates Notebook that tracks all of the news for each day.
Each day we will also have a feature, and of course, P2Daily from Anthony. Here are both of the features from Anthony yesterday.
The final article to join this list is the Prospect Watch, which will be rebranded and will return after about a week. The old version is now found in P2Live.
SONG OF THE DAY