Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

Prospect Watching: Inman and Irwin

The "I's" have it -- two pitching prospects:

Phillip Irwin was the Pirates' 21st round pick in the 2009 draft. �The right-handed starter had just finished an 8-3 season with the University of Mississippi, where he had a 3.84 ERA over 15 games (14 starts, 86.2 innings) with 73 strikeouts. �That was a lot more innings than in his previous college seasons, since he'd had Tommy John surgery in 2006. �A Tennessee native, Irwin reported to State College after signing with the Pirates, and proceeded to put up the best numbers of any of the Spikes' starters: �in 10 games (7 starts), he had a 2.12 ERA and a 1-2 record, with 27 hits and 8 runs (7 earned) in 29.2 innings, only 6 walks, and 32 strikeouts. �Irwin made his debut on June 30th, same as Victor Black, and pitched one inning in relief. �Like Black, Irwin began his pro career by striking out the first batter he faced. �In fact, Irwin struck out the first two batters he faced, then got a ground out to finish the inning. �He earned a win with his second outing, in which he allowed one hit and one walk over 2 innings, with 3 strikeouts. �Irwin started in all but one of his remaining appearances, and generally was able to go 4 innings for most of them. �Irwin allowed just one earned run in his first seven appearances, which totalled 22 innings, and his ERA for those first seven was a miniscule 0.41. �He struck out 24 batters over those appearances, including one outing with 7 strikeouts and one with 6 K's, both in 4 innings. �On August 25th, Irwin had a little trouble, allowing 6 hits over 4 innings, but he did not walk any batters and struck out 5, and so it resulted in only one run scoring. �His next outing, on August 31st, was hit only disaster of the year. �Irwin made the start but did not make it out of the first inning. �The first five Batavia batters of the game reached base (three singles, a double, and a walk), and after a sacrifice fly, four runs had scored and Irwin was heading to the showers. �His last outing was better -- he gave up one run in the 1st inning on a walk and two singles, then retired the next 7 batters he faced. �Unfortunately,�he suffered the loss because the rest of the Spikes did not score any runs. �Though his season did not end on a high note, Irwin had a very successful debut year. �He should be ready to take a shot at the A level batters in West Virginia in 2010.

Righty�Jeff Inman is a prospect from California, who the Pirates lured away from his senior season at Stanford. �He was their pick in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. �Inman signed late, but he arrived in State College in time to start twice in the last week of the season. �Both times, he pitched two scoreless innings, and both times he gave up two hits; in the second outing he also struck out two batters. �It wasn't much of a chance, but he did well with the little time he had, and it might have been enough for Inman to be promoted to West Virginia for 2010.

Archived Neal Huntington interview

Neal Huntington talks with Rocco DeMaro near the end of the 2009 season.

Prospect Watching: Victor Black

Looking at Pirates' prospects while waiting for spring....

Victor Black was the Pirates' pick in the first supplemental round (between the first and second rounds) of the 2009 draft. �A Texas native, Black signed and was assigned to State College, where he appeared in 13 games over the rest of the season. �Of those 13, 7 were starts. �The righty made his pro debut on June 30th with a 1-2-3 inning in relief, including two strikeouts. �He had some tough outings in late July, when he allowed 6 runs and 10 hits over three outings, and lasted only 2.1 innings in a start (one run on three hits and a walk). �His ERA in July was 6.97, but in August, Black settled down and recorded a 1.59 ERA. �He had three outings in which he allowed just one run and three in which he did not allow any runs. �His best performance came on August 16th, when he pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings, allowing just one walk, while striking out 4 batters. �Black finished the season with a 1-2 record and a 3.45 ERA over 31.1 innings of work. �He allowed a total of 26 hits and 12 earned runs (plus 5 unearned runs), with 15 walks and 33 strikeouts. �Batters hit .213 against him, with right-handed batters hitting .159 (2.70 ERA) and left-handed batters hitting .283 (4.76 ERA). �Black's pitches include fiery three-quarters angle fast ball (92-94 mph), a slider, and a change. �Black looks ready to move up to West Virginia for 2010.


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