Philadelphia Phillies prospect Cole Irvin got his first opportunity in the Major Leagues on May 12th, 2019. On Mother’s Day, his mom Sandy Day, along with other family members watched from the crowd in Kanas City. Irvin didn’t disappoint his mother nor the Phillies pitching seven innings and only giving up one earned run. The Phillies were able to capitalize on Irvin’s performance by coming away with a 6 – 1 victory over the Royals. Is Cole Irvin ready to stay in the Big Leagues?
Irvin ready for the big stage
Irvin has done everything possible in the minor leagues to get to the big leagues. But with a fastball that only tops out at 91 mph, the lefty has to use contact to get hitters out. Irvin’s pitch section consists of four pitches that he is able to use with pin point location.
Irvin was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB draft. He didn’t waste any time getting to work. In just over three years Irvin climbed the ranks through the minor league system. Irvin has had a great deal of success. He has a 30-14 record with a 2.78 era in his minor league career thus far. In 2018 Irvin really started getting the Phillies attention while pitching for AAA affiliate Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He posted a healthy 14-4 record with a 2.57 era.
On Irvin’s MLB debut Sunday he kept the outs coming against the Royals. In the seven frames of pitching, Irvin struck out five batters while getting his other 16 outs via contact. Location and pitch selection is key to Irvin’s success. Irvin got his opportunity by Vince Velasquez going to the IR with a right forearm strain. With Velasquez showing some struggles so far the pressure will be on the Phillies if they give Irvin another opportunity to prove his worth.
Phillies left handed needs
Before Irvin’s arrival in the rotation, all five Phillies starting pitchers in the rotation were right-handers. For an analytically focused team, this has been a flaw for the Phillies since they can’t turn hitters around at any point through the rotation. But now that Irvin has capitalized on his debut opportunity the Phillies might have an internal solution.
Rumors have been circulating about Madison Bumgarner being a possible left-handed pitcher trade target. The lefty veteran has softened the rumors lately after releasing his eight no-trade teams which include the Phillies. The good news for the Phillies is Bumgarner didn’t include the Phillies on that list cause he doesn’t necessarily want to play in Philadelphia. But in fact, he included the Phillies along with other possible contenders that would be in search of his services to have some say in the situation.
With the amount of success from the other four remaining starters, the Phillies will not be forced to rush a decision. Velasquez is an option for both the starting rotation and bullpen. Also, the Phillies have right-hander Nick Pivetta who was widely picked to be a breakout player before the season started. He has scuffled in his first four starts and posting an 8.35 era. The good news for Pivetta is he has regained his success in AAA with a 3.60 era in his first four starts.
The Phillies would like to add a left-handed pitcher into the rotation. The big question is when and who. Irvin has made a solid case to plug into the number five starter. While a trade acquisition like Bumgarner would be more of a three or four starter. And as the season continues to develop, some teams will drop out of the playoff race and possibly put another trade target on the market. Best case scenario for the Phillies is that the starting pitchers continue with success and the wins keep coming. So then the Phillies can choose the best man available instead of a rush decision. Is Irvin ready for the big leagues? We will certainly find out.
Featured image via Flickr Bryan Green
All stats via Baseball-Reference
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