Monday, November 6, 2023

Brewers pitcher Aaron Ashby’s biggest fan hails from Rockville, Mo


Milwaukee Brewer’s pitcher Aaron Ashby has a large following- however it appears his #1 fan hails from Bates County as his grandmother Beverly Sullins of Rockville Mo quite possibly knows more about his career stats as well as his life as a young man than anyone else on the planet.

Beverly can clearly remember when he was around 10 years old and they played catch whenever he came to visit. “He had a good arm when he was 10” she laughed “But we don’t play catch now, when he’s throwing close to 100 miles per hour!”

According to Beverly, he wanted to play ball from his earliest days and throughout his young life and it was always all about baseball. “He said it was something he wanted to do professionally. But I had to remind him how tough that can be, and my best advice was to always have a backup plan.” Which he did by attending Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.

But fortunately, Aaron is yet to need such a plan as he was drafted out of Crowder in 2018 by the Brewers. This transition from the minor leagues came in a big way and Beverly saw it all unfold on TV. “I just couldn’t believe it. He finally hit the big time and all I remember is total chaos, everyone cheering and celebrating.” She also affectionately remembers being in public with him shortly after, folks would walk right up and shake his hand with congratulations. She recalled that he was so humbled about the outpouring of support.

“He’s so good with people. Around the industry he’s known as being ‘a super sincere, nice guy’ as acclaimed by coaches and teammates alike” she said “He’s very conscience of the fact that his fans are a huge part of his success too.”

 Besides being grandma’s #1 draft pick, Aaron has enjoyed some firsts in his career including being the first ever minor league player to have a bobblehead made in his likeness “It really looks like him, too!” she mused. And yes, he’s a southpaw, but a good one at that. He’s also nephew of Andy Ashby who pitched for the Phillies, Rockies, Padres, Braves and Dodgers which reinforces that fact that talent runs in the family.   

“One thing I’ve always told him is don’t let it all go to your head” she said. To which he took note, even though his income has substantially increased, the only ‘toy’ he has  bought for himself is a classic car, according to Beverly.

In our short discussion, it became clear that Aaron is most certainly a people person. His most enjoyable time spent is chatting with fans, signing autographs and making personal appearances. Hence, he recently spent the afternoon at the Kern Center in Rich Hill chatting with everyone present including some youngsters that appear to have the same goals as he did at their age. “He’s really good with the kids” she added. 

Aaron obviously takes his career quite seriously, working his way up as he made his professional debut with the Rookie-level Helena Brewers, and also played for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, posting a cumulative 2–3 record and 3.59 ERA in 13 games. In 2019, he split the season between Wisconsin and the High-A Carolina Mudcats, logging a 5–10 record and 3.50 ERA in 24 appearances between the two teams.

Ashby did not play in a game in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However he was assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to begin the 2021 season where he was shifted to the bullpen in June and recorded a 4–1 record and 4.50 ERA in 12 games for the team.

On June 29, 2021, the Brewers announced that they would promote Ashby to the major leagues for the first time. He was formally selected to the 40-man and active rosters the on June 30. He made his MLB debut that day as the starting pitcher against the Chicago Cubs. In his debut, he went 2⁄3 of an inning and allowed 7 runs, 4 earned. At the end of his 1st season, he played in 13 games, 4 in which he started, and he put up a record of 3–2, with an ERA of 4.55 and 39 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.

On July 23, 2022 the Brewers and Ashby agreed on 5-year contract extension that will keep him under contract through the 2027 season with club options for 2028 and 2029. He made 27 appearances (19 starts) for Milwaukee in 2022, registering a 2-10 record and 4.44 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 107.1 innings pitched.

Unfortunately, Aaron hit a bit of a roadblock in February of this year it was announced that he would miss “a couple of months” with left shoulder inflammation. On April 5, manager Craig Counsell announced that Aaron would require arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and would likely miss the entire 2023 season. However as of now he’s on the mend and will be back in business following some rehab.

Despite this adversity, the future began to look even brighter for Aaron as he married the love of his life, Avery Miller on New Year’s Day in Parkville, Mo. which Beverly described as one of the most beautiful occasions ever, sharing this joyous moment with him surrounded by family and friends.

“And I’ve never missed a Brewers game whether he’s pitching or not” smiled Beverly surrounded by Brewers memorabilia which highly accented with Aaron’s accomplishments including baseballs and tons of photos in her home.

Her biggest thrill in watching her grandson hit the big time? “I went to St. Louis  to watch them play the Cardinals in ‘22. And my grandson, Aaron Ashby helped break the Cards winning streak. I was sooooo proud!”

From here, it appears Aaron is on the mend and although he missed a good portion of the season this year, Brewers general manager Matt Arnold says he’s “trending in the right direction”. And if Beverly Sullins has anything to say about it,  2024 may turn out to be his best year yet.

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