On Mother’s Day, 25-year old lefty starter Cole Irvin made his MLB debut against the Kansas City Royals. Though he isn’t the most highly-anticipated or highly-touted prospect to come out of the Phillies farm in recent years, the California native put up some remarkable numbers at the Triple-A level. Irvin went 16-4 with a 2.41 ERA across 31 minor league starts with the IronPigs. Despite not possessing overwhelming velocity or movement in his pitches, Irvin was able to find success on the back of his supreme command. In his first major league start- in front of his friends and family- it was more of the same for the young lefty.
Irvin enjoyed a wildly successful debut in the senior circuit, allowing just five hits, striking out five batters, and collecting his first big league win after 7 strong innings of work. The excellent command that scouts raved about was on full display, as Irvin threw a first-pitch strike to all but five of the 27 batters he faced on Sunday. He seemed surprisingly composed on the mound- routinely pounding the strike zone- as he bested the Royals lineup all evening.
Oddly enough, Irvin made his major league debut on the exact same date (5/12) as former Phillies ace and ‘08 World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
While nobody expects the rookie southpaw to become the next Hamels, the Phillies are hopeful that he can fill the void created by Hamels’ departure in 2015.
Since Hamels was traded to the Texas Rangers, the Phillies have struggled to find a lefty mainstay in the starting rotation. In fact, Irvin was just the sixth lefty to start a game for the Phils since Hamels donned the red pinstripes. Having boasted an all right-handed rotation the last couple years, the Phillies are desperate for a reliable southpaw starter and could give Irvin an extended look in the bigs as they try and gauge if he can fulfill that role.
Whether or not Irvin is the long-term answer remains to be seen, as the former Oregon Duck has but one start under his belt, but he will certainly be given a fair shake at earning the title. After his sensational debut on Mother’s Day, Irvin has earned another start and will make his home debut at Citizens Bank Park against the Colorado Rockies. Hopefully, the first of many starts to come in the City of Brotherly Love.
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports