It is our goal here at Born on Third to educate Cubs fans on the talent that sits at the minor league level. With the way that Theo Epstein has molded this franchise it’s clear that the goal is to have as much talent as possible come from the draft and the farm system. Wouldn’t you hate to be that one person that has no idea who just got called up to the Cubs? It makes you look stupid, so don’t look stupid, and learn about the future of the Chicago Cubs here. Today we feature Austin Kirk.
Austin Kirk is a 21 year old left-handed pitcher out of Owasso, Oklahoma. The Cubs drafted Kirk in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft. The Cubs think highly of Kirk as they gave him a $320,000 signing bonus. Because Kirk signed right away he was immediately thrown into the fire, pitching for the rookie League Cubs and the Low A Boise Hawks in 2009. Kirk made 7 appearances in 2009, including two starts. He finished 2009 with a 2-1 record and a 3.95 ERA in 13 innings of work.
2010 brought more opportunity for Kirk as he started the season at Boise (Low A) but was promoted to the Single A Peoria Chiefs by the end of the year. Kirk was working primarily as a starter at Boise and made three appearances out of the pen for Peoria. Kirk was good, finishing 2010 with a combined 5-6 record with a 3.36 ERA. In the 64 innings that Kirk pitched he only allowed 59 hits, that’s impressive, especially for a starter.
Kirk’s career continued in 2011 with the Peoria Chiefs. He pitched with the Chiefs for the full season and had his ups and downs. July 4th, 2011 – Independence day, but also the day Kirk tossed a no-hitter against Seattle. He was dominant going the distance only allowing two walks and striking out ten. If that was the up, the second half was the down as Kirk struggled to close out the year. My guess is that the innings started to get to him as I doubt he ever threw that many in one season. When it was all said and done Kirk logged 151 innings in 2011 and finished the season with a 5-12 record, but a respectable 4.29 ERA.
Austin has started 2012 with a new team as he has been promoted to the Daytona Cubs (High A). Much like 2011 he has started this season lights out. Kirk is seven starts into his 2012 campaign, currently he is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA. More impressive is that Kirk has a WHIP of .974, and he continues to limit the hits against. In 51 innings so far this season he has only allowed 39 hits, only one of those being a home run. Hopefully he can continue this success into the second half unlike last season. I think he will, he has shown steady progress in his career and there is no reason to think that he won’t be able to continue that trend. If he does, he will most likely be pitching for the Tennessee Smokies by the end of this season, and could be someone you and your friends go see at Wrigley soon, aren’t you glad you know all about him now?
Here is the 2009 draft scouting video of Austin Kirk
Thanks for reading,