Washington Nationals: Jake Irvin a pitching prospect to watch this year
By Blake Finney
While the Washington Nationals farm system isn’t strong on the pitching front, recent draftee Jake Irvin will be a name to watch in his first full season.
Unfortunately, the Washington Nationals minor league system doesn’t have a huge amount of pitching prospect depth right now. But one name to keep an eye on in 2019 will be right-hander Jake Irvin as he looks to make his mark in his first full professional season.
Irvin was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Nationals out of the University of Oklahoma. Though it took a while to work out the details, he eventually signed with the Nationals for $550,000, just above his slot allocation.
During his three seasons at Oklahoma, he held an 18-7 record with a solid 3.49 ERA and struck out 235 in 219.1 innings.
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Irvin was able to continue his success in the early going in the minor leagues too, as he recorded a 1.74 ERA in just 11 appearances between rookie ball with the GCL Nationals and short-season with the Auburn Doubledays. Now he’ll hope to carry that over into 2019 as he begins his first full pro season.
The young right-hander possesses a low 90s fastball, a low 80s slider that’s used as his primary offspeed pitch, as well as a less frequent changeup. Not an overpowering arsenal by any means, but it’s his command and control that will move him up the ladder quickly.
He has a nice simple wind up and three-quarters arm slot that means he can repeat his delivery very easily as he works all parts of the plate. In his three years at Oklahoma, he walked just 83 hitters compared to those 235 strikeouts.
In the video of Irvin’s college footage below, you can see all of that in action from the tall righty.
Looking ahead to 2019, Irvin has a similar profile to fellow pitching prospect Wil Crowe in that he’s more of a command guy than a power pitcher. Both also joined the Nationals out of college, so he could follow a similar path to the one that his fellow right-hander had last year.
Just like Irvin, Crowe pitched in the Gulf Coast League and with Auburn after getting drafted before opening 2018 in High-A with the Potomac Nationals. Therefore, Irvin seems likely to open the season with either the P-Nats in High-A or in Single-A with the Hagerstown Suns. But starting in full-season ball should give him a huge chance to impress and make his way up the system.
While Jake Irvin doesn’t quite have the ceiling of Washington Nationals first-round pick Mason Denaburg, he has a safe floor and is already relatively polished which should allow him to accelarate through the organization.