SUNDAY: Irvin’s officially up in place of Davis, the Phillies announced.
SATURDAY: The Phillies announced that they’ve placed Vince Velasquez on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. In a corresponding move, the club recalled lefty Austin Davis from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. However, the Phillies will select southpaw Cole Irvin from Triple-A to start in Velasquez’s place Sunday in Kansas City. Irvin will take the last open spot on the Phillies’ 40-man roster.
This is the latest in a long line of arm injuries for Velasquez, who has logged IL time in the past for a biceps strain and a flexor strain, among other problems. Moreover, it’s worth noting a forearm strain sent budding Rays ace Tyler Glasnow to the shelf for four to six weeks on Saturday. Velasquez suggested this isn’t nearly as serious as Glasnow’s injury, though, telling Scott Lauber of Philly.com and other reporters that he only expects to miss one start.
Velasquez, 26, hasn’t turned into the front-line starter the Phillies wanted when they acquired the then-prospect in a 2015 blockbuster with the Astros, though he has generally been a capable rotation piece. But Velasquez did endure back-to-back subpar starts prior to his IL placement, and most of his production this year hasn’t been nearly as encouraging as the 3.99 ERA and 9.2 K/9 he has put up over six starts and 29 1/3 frames. Along with those numbers, Velasquez has notched a horrid 5.81 FIP with 4.6 BB/9 and, compared to 2018, seen his swinging-strike and contact rates go in the wrong direction. He’s also yielding more than two home runs per nine and benefiting from a .250 batting average on balls in play and a 90.1 percent strand rate.
With Velasquez down, the 25-year-old Irvin will make his big league debut three seasons after the Phillies chose him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. The former Oregon Duck had been enjoying his second straight sub-3.00 ERA season at the Triple-A level before his promotion, though the rest of his numbers have gone backward since 2018. While MLB.com ranks Irvin as the Phillies’ 16th-best prospect, lauding “his ability to use his four-pitch mix well to keep hitters guessing and off-balance,” the outlet adds that he only features one above-average offering (a changeup).