The Nationals are recalling right-hander Jake Irvin from Triple-A Rochester, manager Dave Martinez told the team’s beat (relayed by Andrew Golden of the Washington Post). He’ll start tomorrow evening’s game against the Cubs in what’ll be his big league debut. Washington optioned right-hander Cory Abbott to open a spot on the active roster.
Irvin, 26, has been in the organization for four-plus seasons. The Nats selected the Oklahoma product in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. The 6’6″ hurler has appeared towards the back half of the organization’s top 30 prospects since that point. Baseball America has slotted him between 10th and 23rd over the past four years, including the #22 placement last winter.
Keith Law of the Athletic slotted Irvin 11th in the system. Both Law and BA write that Irvin’s heater sits in the mid-90s. They each praise an above-average to plus curveball while raising questions about his changeup. Baseball America suggests he’s a likely back-of-the-rotation type, while Law feels he’s likelier to settle into a bullpen role.
The Nationals added Irvin to their 40-man roster last November to keep him out of the Rule 5 draft. That came on the heels of a 3.83 ERA showing in 24 starts between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg. He logged five innings in big league Spring Training before being optioned to Rochester for his first Triple-A work. Irvin has taken the ball five times for the Red Wings, working to a 5.64 ERA across 22 2/3 innings. His 20.4% strikeout rate and 11.2% walk percentage are each a little worse than average.
Washington has a vacancy in the final rotation spot. The Nats placed Chad Kuhl on the 15-day injured list yesterday. While it initially seemed as if Abbott would take the fifth starting role, he pitched two innings of relief on Monday before being optioned back out. If Irvin can get out on a strong foot in his MLB career, he could vie for a back-end role behind Josiah Gray, MacKenzie Gore, Trevor Williams and Patrick Corbin. Kuhl had struggled prior to his IL stint, so his hold on a rotation job could be tenuous even once he recovers from the toe sprain that knocked him out of action.