Phillies prospect Cole Irvin to make major-league debut Sunday
Cole Irvin will complete his rise to the majors Sunday as he will make his debut for the Phillies three years after being drafted.
The Phillies placed Vince Velasquez on the injured list Saturday afternoon with a right forearm strain. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia and other reporters stated that left-handed pitching prospect Cole Irvin will be called up to start Sunday in Velasquez’s place and make his major-league debut.
Irvin is not on the 40-man roster, but Aaron Altherr being designated for assignment earlier this week means a spot is open for Irvin. Altherr was selected off waivers by the Giants Saturday.
Irvin, the club’s No. 16 prospect according to MLB.com, is the first player from the 2016 draft class to make it to the major leagues. He was picked in the fifth round that year, making it to the majors before the other picks: Mickey Moniak, Kevin Gowdy, Cole Stobbe, and JoJo Romero.
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Since going pro, Irvin has done well at nearly every level with the team aggressively pushing up the minor-league ladder. He had a 1.97 ERA in short-season Williamsport in 2016 and a 2.55 ERA in High-A Clearwater to start 2017, skipping Low-A Lakewood. Irvin hit a slight hiccup to end 2017 with a 4.06 ERA in 13 starts at Double-A Reading.
Irvin made a name for himself last year upon reaching Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 14-4 in 26 appearances, posting a 2.57 ERA, 3.30 fielding-independent pitching, and 1.05 WHIP. He struck out 131 batters and walked 35 in 161.1 innings. Irvin earned a call-up with his performance, but the 40-man roster glut made it impossible.
Irvin continued to succeed this year back in Triple-A with a 2.25 ERA in six starts. He hasn’t been as sharp in his last two starts, giving up three runs in each appearance. Still, he is overdue to make his debut.
Irvin is not an overpowering pitcher, limiting his overall ceiling. He instead relies on commanding his four-pitch arsenal well, which he has done throughout his minor-league career. That will have to continue in the majors. Otherwise, he won’t last long.