Nats top prospects: No. 10 - RHP Jake Irvin

Let’s run down the recently released Top 10 Nationals prospects according to Baseball America, counting down from No. 10 to No. 1, as the end of the year approaches.

We begin with the No. 10 Nats prospect: right-hander Jake Irvin.

Irvin, 21, was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma. He is 6-foot-6, 225 lbs., and got to pitch in 11 games, starting seven, for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals and the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays.

In those 11 games, he did well, going 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 20 2/3 innings, allowing 16 hits and striking out 15 batters. Irvin throws a fastball, slider and changeup.

Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo said in his write-up that Irvin has stuff that is “more ordinary than overwhelming,” but has the ability repeat his delivery and is a “solid strike thrower.”

And after spending pitching assets the last couple of offseasons to acquire starting position players, the Nats built up their depth with a host of hurlers in June.

nats-spring-training-pitchers-2018.jpgIn the draft the Nationals ended up “going really heavy on the pitching,” Collazo said. “I think they have done a really good job in supplementing the pitching depth in the system. We have a number of pitchers in our top 10.”

Irvin was the Friday starter for the Sooners, going 6-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 starts in his senior season. When Irvin won the series opener, Oklahoma won 11 of 12 series. The Minnesota Twins selected Irvin - a native of Bloomington, Minn. - in the 37th round of the 2015 MLB draft. But Irvin went to college and then later signed with the Nats. He went 12-2 in 26 regular season starts over his last two years with the Sooners.

“Irvin is a guy who had a really good career with Oklahoma, improved every year, has an impressive track record in the Big 12,” Collazo said. “He’s got a really big frame. He gets his fastball up into the mid-90s, solid breaking ball, a solid changeup that he didn’t throw that frequently, but the reports I got back from that pitch from pro scouts that have seen him, they liked it. They think it could be a solid pitch for him in the future.”

Collazo said Irvin may not display the flash of some of the higher-profile players right now, but believes he has the ability to move up the chain and become a consistent contributor.

“I think Irvin is a guy who maybe won’t have the ceiling of a (Mason) Denaburg or a (Tim) Cate as a lefty with kind of an out pitch curveball,” Collazo said. “But he could be a guy who moves quickly, similar to what Wil Crowe has done. If he succeeds in that capacity he could be a very solid back-of-the-rotation-style starter for the Nationals moving forward.”

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