#MLBPlayers411 | Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Today's #MLBPlayers411 subject is the absolute definition of perseverance. This season, Texas Rangers pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx (\BIBB-ins DIRKS\) is enjoying his rookie campaign – at 32-years-old.
In his most recent outing, an 8-1 Rangers victory at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 24, Austin went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on five hits. He is now 3-0 on the season with a 3.68 ERA and has caught the eye of his manager Jeff Banister. He made his big-league debut on May 17, 2017, when he pitched one inning of work against the Philadelphia Phillies. Austin struck out Tommy Joseph for his first major league strikeout.
“I'm not going to downplay anything he's done on the mound,” Banister said following the win. “He's pitched very well. He's moved the ball around. He's used all his pitches. He's spreading pitches around and he's not walking anybody. The efficiency of his pitches is the most impressive thing we've seen from him. He knows how to pitch.”
Banister isn't the only one in awe of the righty. Teammate Shin-Soo Choo, who spent seven years in the minor leagues before breaking into the majors in 2005, knows the path Austin has been on.
“I'm really happy for him,” Choo said following Austin's outing on Saturday. “He has a lot of experience in a lot of different leagues. That's really big for him.”
Austin, or ‘ABD' as teammates have referred to him, graduated from McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon and attended Chemeketa Community College before transferring to the University of Portland in 2006. The Salem, Oregon native thought he'd have the conventional road to the majors when he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 16th round of the 2006 Draft, but his road to the show has been anything but.
“I've been around for a while and I've been all over in different countries, and I attribute a lot to pitching in winter ball ... because those guys can really hit and it teaches you to pitch,” Bibens-Dirkx told the Star-Telegram. “I try to throw everything consistently for strikes. I'm able to mix pitches, and I try to be unpredictable.”
Despite being drafted by the Mariners organization, Austin has bounced around the farm systems of the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays and now the Rangers.
Including his current team, Austin's incredible journey has seen him call 21 different places – here and abroad – home. His odyssey includes rookie ball, A, A+, AA, AAA, winter ball, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and independent leagues in British Columbia and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
Cue the music!
In case you don't believe us, Austin's played for:
Aguilas del Zulia
Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Dunedin Blue Jays
High Desert Mavericks
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Round Rock Express
Tigres de Aragua
Toros del Este
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
As Johnny Cash sang, Austin's been everywhere, man. Congratulations, Austin, and welcome to The Show!
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