Analysis

The Transformation of Phil Irwin From a 21st Round Pick to a Legit Prospect

The Transformation of Phil Irwin From a 21st Round Pick to a Legit Prospect

Phil Irwin had a 2.83 ERA in 130.1 innings last year, with an 8.1 K/9 and a 1.7 BB/9.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Phil Irwin, he was known as the other pitcher from Mississippi in the 2009 draft. The Pirates also selected Nate Baker in the 5th round that year. Baker and Irwin were the number two and three starters in the Ole Miss rotation in 2009, with the ace of the staff being 2010 first rounder Drew Pomeranz.

Irwin was taken in the 21st round. A college pitcher taken in the 21st round usually doesn't turn into a prospect. So far, Irwin has been a different story.

The development started in 2010. Irwin did a lot of work that year in West Virginia with pitching coach Jeff Johnson. The right-hander made an adjustment, and took his four-seam fastball from the 87-88 MPH range to the 92-93 MPH range that year. He ended up with a 3.35 ERA in 113 innings, along with an 8.8 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9 ratio.

In 2011, Irwin jumped to high-A at the start of the year. After a 2.02 ER...

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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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