Monday, April 5, 2010

Ex-Seal Bibens-Dirkx promoted to AA

Former Victoria Seals pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx will start the 2010 campaign with the Tennessee Smokies of the AA Southern League. The Smokies will kick off their season on Thursday against the Mississippi Braves.

You may remember that Bibens-Dirkx had an impressive start to the 2009 season with the Seals. After posting a 2-2 record with a 3.70 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings, he was signed by the Chicago Cubs on July 3rd and assigned to their A ball affiliate in Peoria.

Bibens-Dirkx quickly established himself as the ace of the Peoria Chiefs' staff as he put up some impressive numbers: a 7-2 record and a miserly 2.04 ERA. His strikeouts fell to only 50 in 70 2/3 innings, but his control was off the charts -- he averaged only 1.1 free passes per nine innings. Bibens-Dirkx led the Chiefs to the playoffs and he earned the start in Game 1 of the Western Division Championship Series.

The Cubs were wise to start Bibens-Dirkx in A ball last season. Slightly older than the competition, he was able to have some success and build his confidence. He'll definitely be challenged this year with the promotion to the AA Southern League. The 24-year-old will be of average age in the league and he'll face much more experienced hitters. But with another solid season, Bibens-Dirkx can put himself into contention for a big-league job. Of this you can be sure: It's just a matter of time before an ex-Seal is in the majors.