Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ex-Seal Bibens-Dirkx to make the Cubs in 2011?

Former Victoria Seals pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx continued his ascent to the big leagues by pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League this off-season. In fact, a Chicago Cubs blogger is touting Bibens-Dirkx as a candidate for the Cubs' bullpen in 2011.

Bibens-Dirkx played for Ćguilas del Zulia until his contract ran out on November 20th. In seven starts for Zulia, he posted a 2-2 record with a sparkling 1.60 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Those are very impressive numbers considering the quality of hitters in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Austin played this past season for the Tennessee Smokies (AA) and the Iowa Cubs (AAA) and had a combined 10-7 record with a 3.78 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He also held opponents to a .224 batting average and had 2.1 strikeouts for every walk surrendered.

You may remember that the Cubs signed Bibens-Dirkx when he was with the Seals on July 3, 2009. At the time of his signing, he was leading the Golden Baseball League with 54 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings pitched.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to Bibens-Dirkx suiting up with the Chicago Cubs next year might be looming in the next week, since the Cubbies left him unprotected for the Rule V Draft. This draft of veteran minor-leaguers takes place at the upcoming Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida (December 6th to 9th). The smart money is on Bibens-Dirkx becoming the first ex-Seal to appear at the MLB level. In about a week's time we should know the organization with which he'll continue the journey.

See more of our past coverage of Austin Bibens-Dirkx.