Pirates Prospects Daily: Braxton Ashcraft Showing Velocity and Control in Return From Tommy John

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.

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.

Probably no way in telling who has the record for hitting the roller coaster the most, but Mason Martin has to be up there.

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.


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.

**P2Live: A New Place to Follow and Discuss the Daily Games in the Pirates System

The second is a daily Pirates Notebook that tracks all of the news for each day. 

**Pirates Notebook: Angel Perdomo and Yerry De Los Santos Join the Bullpen

Each day we will also have a feature, and of course, P2Daily from Anthony. Here are both of the features from Anthony yesterday.

**Thomas Harrington Displayed Swing and Miss Secondary in Bradenton

**Josh Palacios Making Most Of Major League Opportunity

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.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Braxton Ashcraft is throwing every bit of 5mph harder than he was before surgery. That’s easily a letter grade on the fastball!

Last edited 3 months ago by NMR

Raise it!

Sweeping the Cardinals to put ‘em 7 back! WooHoo!!


Why did the Pirates give up on Harold Ramirez? He is producing better than most players on the Pirates.


Liriano was pretty good the preivious 3 seasons, but struggled the first half of the 2016 season. The Blue Jays agreed to take him and the almost $20 million still owed to him as long as the Pirates also gave them 2 of our top prospects (Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire). The Blue Jays gave in an awful pitcher Drew Hutchison to make it appear as a trade, but really it was a salary dump.

To make matters worse, Liriano improved enough where the Blue Jays were able to trade Liriano for Teoscar Hernandez who became an all star with the Blue Jays.

If you can’t tell, this was one of my least favorite trades.


thanks. I forgot about that trade even though I was shocked when it was made. Whomever said cash is king was prescient in regarding this move made by the Pirates.


So they could salary dump Liriano, R Mcguire also went in the trade. If I remember correctly.

Last edited 3 months ago by melkel

They had multiple opportunities to bring him back to the org if they wanted to. Took multiple seasons and teams for him to get established.


Jung-Seok Shim looks like he’s going to be fun to watch rise. It would be fun to see him get an aggressive move to Bradenton. Not sure his status on a change, but given his movement and easy delivery a change would be nasty.


Can’t wait to watch today’s game over lunch. Oh wait………..bleeping MLB BASEBALL!!


Peacock is running a promo. $19.99 for one year subscription. I signed up last night purely for today’s game and then figured I could finally join the bandwagon and watch this Yellowstone show.


I think they rely on people forgetting to cancel quite a bit.

Last edited 3 months ago by john_fluharty

NBC thanks you for your money. 😂


Tsung-Che Chung had two hits, including a double. This ruined his seasonal stat line. Before last night he sat at 7-7-7 for 2bs, 3bs, HRs. He’s got some nerve ruining that pristine line!

Does anyone know how his defensive chops are?


He’s a good fielder with a strong arm

Per Clay Davenport’s models he’s only behind Triolo as a Pirates IF

Also Termarr and Nick and Rivas and the 3B from ND are highly rated as fielders


Never heard that Nick was a good fielder. Wonder why TJ is making all of those errors if he too is considered a good fielder?


Also it doesn’t appear that there are any first-rate OF’ers in the system

It might make sense to draft this guy …



Until the trade the other day, possibly the best fielding SS. The guy they got from the Ray’s is supposed to be a slick fielder.


Thx. Unlike our new slick fielder, Cheng appears to be able to actually hit. Keep those fingers crossed.


Is Ashcroft close to being considered a 6 year minor league free agent? If so, what do we need to do about it?


Pitching, Pitching, and more Pitching. A very positive situation in the Minors, and the current situation with the Pirates means that there will not be any need to think about rushing anyone through the system. Thanks for the looks at Jun-Seok Shim – very polished for an 18 year old.

Braxton Ashcraft has been impressive at A+ with 7 Starts and only 19 innings. The Pirates are being very deliberate as they should with a major talent still rehabbing from TJ. Excellent 8.5/0.9 K/BB/9 so far at A+. Looking forward to seeing him get some innings at AA all still in his age 23 season.

Getting prepared for the trade deadline, with special interest in AL teams who are in need of young MLB 2B/Util players and Seattle tops my list. They have a 26 year old Rookie at 2B only because Kolten Wong (32) has a .433 OPS so far in 38 games, and Eugenio Suarez (32) is better but still struggling with a .637 OPS at 3B. They are currently at .500, and need to get in position for a WC.


I would love if we could figure out a deal for pick 30 with Seattle, I think it could be beneficial for both parties.


Are you suggesting Cherington can convince Seattle to trade their #1 pick for a utility infielder? I want to see that and I’m old enough to have seen the Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock trade.


Might be able if they continue to get nothing from their 2nd basemen.


Bae for 30 would make me one happy camper

Pirates Prospects Daily


Latest articles

Latest comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x