No. 23: Left-Handed Pitcher Cole Irvin
For the second year in a row the Phillies took a left-handed pitcher in the fifth round of the draft. This time, it was a 22-year old college arm in Cole Irvin. Irvin logged a 3.17 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 105 innings with Oregon in his senior season. The Phillies used some of the money they saved drafting Mickey Moniak to sign Irvin well above his slot at a $800,000 bonus.
After signing with the organization, Irvin joined short-season Williamsport. His innings were limited considering the heavy workload he underwent in college, as Irvin tossed 45.2 innings with the CrossCutters. In ten appearances – seven of which were starts – Irvin allowed opposing hitters a meager .205 average. He carried a 1.97 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in that span.
In his arsenal, Irvin commands his fastball well, but it lacks in velocity due to Tommy John surgery that cost him his sophomore season. It sits in the high-80s to low-90s, but it touched 95 at one point this season according to Matt Winkelman. Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA said that Irvin has some feel for a cutter as well.
In addition, Irvin offers two solid secondary pitches in his changeup and breaking ball. He commands the latter so well Mitch Rupert of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette said Irvin could “hit a gnat in the ass” with it in one of his starts.
There isn’t much development left for Irvin, and he will likely move very fast through the system. With solid command a workable three-pitch mix, it’s an easy to see him as a back-end starter type. The team would be wise to keep an eye on his arm due to his previous Tommy John surgery, but a full-season workload in 2017 is likely with a major-league arrival probably coming no sooner than 2019.