As the back-end of the Cincinnati Reds rotation continues to mostly get bonked around on a regular basis, it’s easy to turn one’s eyes to the minor leagues in search of an answer. When you do so, the name that has raised the most eyebrows so far in 2023 has been lefty Andrew Abbott, who has completely scorched AA hitters this season.
By scorched, I mean scorched - just 2 ER allowed in 15.2 IP (3 GS), with a comical 36/3 K/BB in that time.
As it turns out, he’s finished taking it out on those poor AA hitters, as he’s been promoted to AAA Louisville as of today. Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer had that news, noting that Lyon Richardson - who had been lights out in limited work with Class-A Daytona while working back from Tommy John surgery - would be promoted to AA Chattanooga to fill the void in their rotation.
(Toot-tooting my own horn here for a second, but that’s a situation I suggested was imminent in this morning’s Farmers Only. Toot-toot!)
In other news, it appears the Reds are kicking the tires on extending Graham Ashcraft, or at least have realized that doing so is a good idea. MLB Trade Rumors labels the talks ‘preliminary’ after Big Bob Nightengale of the McPaper mentioned that the Reds were exploring the concept of extensions with both Ashcraft and Nick Lodolo in the wake of the deal struck with fellow rotation member Hunter Greene. Ashcraft, in particular, is an interesting case given that he didn’t get one of those cozy $6-7 million signing bonuses like the two 1st round picks, instead inking for just shy of $250K as a 6th rounder back in 2019. Perhaps that means he’d be more amenable to a team-friendly deal to get some of that sweet, sweet life-changing cash in the bank, though I’m torn because he deserves to earn as much as physically possible while putting his right arm on the line.
There is still no news on Joey Votto, in other non-news. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed that in his latest injury update, also noting that Connor Overton has not yet started throwing since being shelved on April 15th.
I miss Joey Votto.
Prompted by a question from football yapper and lifelong Reds fan Kirk Herbstreit, Matt Wilkes of Reds Content Plus did the math on the Reds overall April record since the 2014 season, and - SPOILER ALERT - it’s pretty terrible. How terrible, you ask? How about as terrible as it gets:
84-139 in March/April since 2014, the worst record in MLB.— Matt Wilkes (@_MattWilkes) April 23, 2023
It’s one thing to reach the end of a season and reflect on how bad it turned. It’s another thing entirely for season after season after season to be sunk before they even begin, so that by August you find yourself on the couch with your eyes rolled back in your brain rubbing ham sandwiches on your ears to pass the summer evenings instead. It would be so incredibly appreciated if this iteration of the Reds could find a way to cauterize things this very minute and rebound with even a modicum of competence for a few weeks so as to not further alienate the few folks who still tune in.
Finally, the Daily Reds ISO Watch has them all the way down to .113, collectively, which ranks ahead of only the lowly Washington Nationals in all of baseball. That’s not a park-adjusted number, either, so despite the Reds playing in a home ball park that was by far and away the most dinger-promoting in the game in 2022 (per MLB.com’s park factors), they’re still struggling for extra-base hits at an epic rate. Hopefully, that will change with a few games at home this week against the Texas Rangers, who mercifully rolled out Jacob deGrom against Oakland yesterday so that he won’t be scheduled for a start in the series at GABP.