Phil Irwin Is Also Going to the Arizona Fall League

Phil Irwin will be pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Photo Credit: David Hague

Phil Irwin will be pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Photo Credit: David Hague

Earlier I reported that Jameson Taillon will be heading to the Arizona Fall League this off-season. I’ve also learned that right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin will be going to the AFL. Irwin missed almost the entire season due to an injury. He made one start with Indianapolis, then was called up to Pittsburgh to fill in the rotation. He only threw 4.2 innings, then was shut down for a few weeks. He returned for one more start with Indianapolis at the end of April, but that was his final start of the year.

At the start of July, Irwin had ulnar nerve transposition surgery on his right elbow. That put him out for about two months, which means he should be eligible to return soon. Irwin pitched in the AFL in 2011, although he left early with tightness in his right forearm. Those nagging injuries have been an issue for Irwin, and are pretty much the main drawback for him as a pitcher. He’s not going to be a top of the rotation guy, but he could be a reliable starter when healthy. This year would have been a great opportunity for him to crack the rotation, but the injury prevented it.

Irwin will get a chance to make up for lost innings in the AFL. He’s got a chance to pitch in the majors as a starter next year, although he will most likely be a depth option out of Triple-A since he has options remaining. But as we’ve seen this year, you need depth, and sometimes plenty of it. If Irwin can stay healthy, there’s a good chance he’ll be making a start or two in the majors next year.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

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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  • leadoff

    I was going to ask about this guy, glad to hear he is going to the AFL, not expecting much in results though. I do think he could be a quality starter in the majors though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.j.stein.3 Jeremy J Stein

    I hope Irwin recovers and can stay healthy. They will need depth next year as they probably won’t have five thousand pitchers ready to come off DL in May or June like they did this year. Joking of course, as only Liriano and Morton came back.
    .
    Let me see if I can remember this off the top of my head. Starting depth (as of right now) looks like this:
    .
    Liriano
    Rodriguez (assuming option)
    Morton
    Locke
    Cole
    Taillon (I’m assuming June/July)
    Kingham (I’m assuming June/July/August)
    Cumpton
    Irwin
    McPherson
    Kris Johnson
    .
    Pretty much everyone after Cole is a question mark although I guess the Pirates had plenty of question marks this year so maybe we don’t have anything to worry about. Oh yeah, I guess we have Jeanmar as depth.

    • CalipariFan506

      Ya, I think I’d offer AJ a qualifying offer then if he does not come back head into free agency. Scott Feldman pitched well in our division with the Cubs this year, he could be had for like 2yrs/$18M or so. The guy that used to be named Fausto Carmona is a groundball type guy the Pirates love who can pitch in the middle of a rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez had good success with Hurdle in Colorado.

      I think any of these options will hold the fort down as they say. In fact, if Burnett isn’t back I’d like two of them.

    • buster09

      Jeremy,you might want to add Casey Sadler’s name to your list also. He probably won’t be any more than a back of the rotation or long relief type pitcher,but will probably be serviceabpe. And,it will be interesting to see what the Orginization does with Stolmy Pimental also. I wouldn’t be surprised if they protect him this Fall.