Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Former Seals pitcher sent to minors by Nationals

Austin Bibens-Dirkx had three solid appearances this spring, but it wasn't enough to keep him from being included in the first round of cuts made by the Washington Nationals on Monday.

The former Victoria Seals pitcher started off with a bang on the opening day of the spring by striking out all three Georgetown Hoyas he faced on March 2nd. In his second appearance, he struck out Justin Heyward of the Atlanta Braves and in his final outing he faced the Detroit Tigers and struck out Jhonny Peralta and Miguel Cabrera. In that final appearance, he also retired Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. Not bad for a guy who was out of baseball as recently as 2008.

Although his outing against the Hoyas isn't recorded as an MLB spring training game, Bibens-Dirkx still finished the spring camp with the Nationals with a 3.86 ERA, no walks and three strikeouts. He also only allowed two hitters to reach base in his 2 1/3 innings of work. Given that this success comes on the heels of an impressive showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, I'm a bit surprised that the Nationals didn't give him a longer look. Austin will now report to the Nationals' minor-league camp and I'd expect him to be assigned to play AAA ball this season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. Don't be surprised to see Bibens-Dirkx get the call-up to the big club sometime during the 2012 season and become the second ex-Seal to appear in the major leagues.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ex-Seal Bibens-Dirkx in spring camp with Nationals

Photo courtesy of Christian Stewart
After declaring free agency and turning a few heads with a dominant performance in the Venezuelan Winter League, former Victoria Seals pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was signed to a minor-league contract by the Washington Nationals in January. The Nationals then rewarded his efforts by inviting him to attend spring training with the club in Viera, Florida as a non-roster invitee.

Over the winter, Bibens-Dirkx led the Venezuelan Winter League in wins (7) and posted a sparkling 2.19 ERA. He also struck out 51 batters and only walked 22 in 78 innings pitched, while holding opponents to a paltry .201 batting average.

Bibens-Dirkx had been part of the Chicago Cubs systems since he was signed in July 2009 after mowing down Golden Baseball League hitters while a member of the Victoria Seals. If all goes well, Bibens-Dirkx could become the second ex-Seal to make the big leagues (Dane De La Rosa was the first). The Nationals are set to start their exhibition schedule tomorrow afternoon with a game against Georgetown University. Best of luck in spring training, Austin!