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 ERA in 53.1...