Pirates Prospect Interview: Phillip Irwin

Phillip Irwin compiled a 6-3 record with a 3.35 ERA at Class A West Virginia this past season. The 23-year old right-hander had 20 starts and recorded 111 strikeouts and walked 20. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with Irwin recently.

GVB -- Were you pleased with the numbers you put up this season?

PI -- As a whole I thought it went really well. I had one or two pretty bad outings, I think I gave up ten earned against Lakewood in one outing that kind of hurt my ERA, but as a whole I thought that my season went really well.

GVB -- You were Pitcher of the Week for the South Atlantic League in July – that must have been a good point in the season for you?

PI -- I threw seven innings of no hit ball against Hagerstown to get pitcher of the week. I felt pretty good that game and I didn't have my best stuff, but a couple of things went right and I had some good luck. It felt pretty good.

GVB -- Your strikeout to walk ratio was pretty good, were you happy with that?

PI -- Control has never been a big issue for me. My strikeouts were up and I always feel that I'm right around the plate; in fact sometimes I don't know when to throw a ball. I may give up a few more hits in certain situations because I'm not afraid to throw the ball in the strike zone. I throw the ball in the strike zone too much sometimes and it can cost me.

GVB -- Tell us about your repertoire – what pitches do you throw?

PI -- I throw a fastball, curveball and changeup. I throw a four seam and two seam fastball. The curveball is definitely my out pitch. I think most of the year I was fastball, curveball and my changeup is kind of a work in progress.

GVB -- What is your velocity on the fastball?

PI -- I'm 89 or 90 and on a good day I'll hit 91 or 92.

GVB -- What did they have you work on at the instructional league?

PI -- The big thing for me was getting more power out of my legs. They wanted more power out of delivery and they wanted more aggression. They think that my legs could give me a couple more miles per hour on my velocity. That was the main thing we worked on and anything else was just a product of that.

GVB -- You went to Bradenton late when they went in the playoffs. Did you get to pitch?

PI -- I got to pitch an inning and a third or maybe just an inning. I didn't pitch very well and I was a little too fine and didn't get ahead of hitters like I normally do. Though I didn't do well it was a good learning experience and I know what to look forward to next year.

GVB -- Are you hoping to start out this year at Bradenton and are you pleased with the progress you are making through the system?

PI -- They mentioned a spot in the rotation in High A. I'm obviously trying to work toward Double A and if I get stronger and I work on my delivery there is a chance I could end up at Double A before the season ends. I feel I'm on track, I felt like they moved me up when I was ready to be moved up. There was never a point where I felt like I should be moved up right now. I completely trust what they are doing and if they think I'm ready – then I'll be ready.

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