Austin Bibens-Dirkx’s 2017 was quite a surprise. The Texas Rangers are not only surprised with what Bibens-Dirkx did, but they’re amazed, as well. For so long, Bibens-Dirkx has waited for his chance to play ball in the majors, the Rangers gave it to him, and he made the most of it.
Bibens-Dirkx has been pitching for over ten years. He’s played minor-league baseball for five different baseball organizations but was never given a chance to play on their main roster. The Texas Rangers signed him to a minor league contract and assigned him to AAA Round Rock.
About a month in the season, Bibens-Dirkx was called up to the majors for the first time in his career. The 32-year-old rookie made his major league debut on May 17th against the Philadelphia Phillies, pitching one full inning, allowing one hit, one run, and striking out one batter. He earned his first major league victory against the New York Mets on June 6th.
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Due to injuries to the starting rotation, the Rangers gave Bibens-Dirkx the opportunity to be a starting pitcher. On June 11th, Bibens-Dirkx made his first major league start, pitching 7.0 innings in a winning effort. About two weeks later, he picked his second starting victory, improving to 3-0 after pulling a massive upset against the New York Yankees.
He was soon pulled out of the rotation and brought back to the bullpen where he remained for the rest of the season. Finishing this season 5-2 is very good for a 32-year-old rookie.
However, he did have a few issues this season. One is that his ERA rose and he began to fall back a little bit on his performance late in the season.
According to Lone Star Baseball’s Adam J. Morris, Bibens-Dirkx’s ERA in the second half of baseball was 5.67 after it was 4.04 in the first half. But we can’t throw Bibens-Dirkx as he did have some bad outings which are common in baseball.
Another hiccup is his inability to strike out as 38 strikeouts in 69 innings is not very convincing. His season-high of strikeouts this season is five. That’s something he’ll need to improve on if he’s to spend more time in Arlington.
The decision to re-sign Bibens-Dirkx is a tough one, but the Rangers probably do want to see more from him. He does deserve an invitation to Spring Training so he can compete for a roster spot.