First Pitch

First Pitch: Phil Irwin a Serious Contender For the Rotation?

First Pitch: Phil Irwin a Serious Contender For the Rotation?

Heading into Spring Training, the 5th starter battle seemed to be a two-man race. There was Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson, with guys like Jonathan Sanchez and Jeanmar Gomez competing, but both having an outside shot of making the team as a starter. So far Locke and McPherson haven't stepped up, and neither have Sanchez or Gomez. One pitcher is stepping up with the numbers, and that's Phil Irwin.

Spring Training numbers shouldn't mean much. Irwin has only thrown eight innings. In that time he has a 2.25 ERA and nine strikeouts. But seven of those strikeouts came today in 3.2 innings. So he's had a few good outings, and one really good appearance today. On that same note, Locke has thrown 13.1 innings and McPherson has thrown 7.2 innings. So no matter which player we're talking about, we're looking at the equivalent of 1-2 starts during the regular season. You also have to consider the quality of opponents. Locke and McPherson are starting games, so they're theoretically going up agai...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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