Irvin, a fifth-rounder from the 2016 MLB Draft out of Oregon, made quick work of the lower minors after signing for a well-over-slot $800,000. He has been showing off off his plus to double-plus control (2.1 career BB/9 in 197 innings) and above-average command of his four-pitch arsenal at Double-A Reading since being promoted June 28. In my view on September 1, despite a late-season drop in fastball velocity, he worked seven innings versus Trenton, reaching a three-ball count just once, and showing advanced sequencing and impressive feel on the mound.
Irvin is easily playing 25-to-30 pounds above his listed weight at this point, and the added core strength to his well proportioned six-foot-four frame should pay dividends with his durability down the road, though arm fatigue after passing 150 innings of work this year was apparent. He has a polished delivery, with a long arm action that’s quick through his 3/4’s slot, and while there is some effort in the delivery and some stab in the back that shows the ball early, it’s also online, balanced, and repeatable, with a consistent release point across all of his offerings.
His projectable fastball was at 87-to-91 mph for most readings (T92). His command was plus, and the movement was above average both in terms of two-seam tailing action, and cut action and some heft in the lower velo band. The arm strength is there to reach back for 93-to-95, as he did in the FSL All-Star Game, so he should settle at average sitting velo, with the pitch playing up a grade due to both the command and movement.
He has feel for his average slider in the 82-to-86 mph range, at the higher velo blending into the shape of the cut action of his fastball, and showing average depth and sharper bite in the lower range, where it was most effective while retaining a fastball look out of hand. His curveball was at 74-to-77 mph that he showed feel to change the depth and break from gradual to sharp, and he threw it for first-pitch strikes. He’s got above-average command of both breaking balls. His changeup was at 78-to-82 mph showing tumble, and the arm speed sells it as a solid-average offering.
He comes with some moderate risk, and proving his strength deep into a season will be key, but the added strength in the body and polished mechanics should help the velo, and play up the arsenal, in 2018. Irvin is a strike-thrower who is constantly working around the edges of the plate, and he shows a natural feel for spin. Add to that his above-average or better command of his three best pitches, and it makes him a legit candidate to be a solid number four starter in the big leagues. If the arm strength fades deep into the season, he’ll still have a floor of a Role 50 number five starter/swingman.