Another Phillie who could have a breakout year is left-handed pitcher Cole Irvin.
Irvin is a pitcher who’s shown that he can get better with time. After posting a 5-3 record, 4.06 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 13 games for AA Reading, he stepped it up for a strong rookie campaign in AAA.
Moving from AA in 2017 to AAA Lehigh Valley in 2018, Irvin posted a 14-4 record, 2.57 ERA and 1.054 WHIP in 26 games.
Those numbers led the southpaw to International League Pitcher of the Year honors.
Despite a 6-1 record, he did have a 3.94 ERA and 1.356 WHIP last season in Lehigh Valley.
But the most interesting case study is his time with the Phillies.
Irvin appeared in 16 games last season between call-ups in May, June, July and September.
In his first eight games, he gave up 26 earned runs over 29.1 innings. In his last eight games (all in September), he gave up only one earned run over 12.1 innings.
He pitched in way fewer innings due in part to his exclusive use as a reliever, compared to making three starts in May (the first of which saw only one earned run surrendered over seven innings in his debut).
Following his rough patch, with more experience at both the minor and major league levels, Irvin showed much improvement in his bullpen use late season.
With his solid minor league stats and that September call-up, Irvin could be primed for a breakout year.
While it would be realistic to think that he’d be used out of the bullpen at first, the back of the starting rotation remains in question and Irvin has the experience of being a starter, so he could eventually earn himself a starting spot.