Austin and his wife, Danielle, are expecting their first child, a girl, on March 9…the two are new homeowners as of Dec 21 and spent the second half of the offseason fixing it up…they traveled from Texas to California and Montana this offseason...Austin owns a five-year-old husky named Dexter…Dexter was the first thing Austin bought with his signing bonus...Teammates describe him as a "sneaky good" golfer…Ryne Stanek says Austin golfs, and approaches life in general, like he pitches-with an even keel...Austin and Danielle were married at the Stonegate Mansion in Fort Worth, Texas…the home was built by oil magnate T. Cullen Davis in the 1970s and was the site of an unsolved double homicide just a few years later-a detail that eluded Austin until after the wedding...His father, Gary, drives from Houston to watch him pitch…he drove to Charlotte for the 2016 Triple-A All Star Game and Fort Myers for Austin's start in the 2017 spring training opener…in 2017, he also made the drive to St. Petersburg for Opening Day and the 1,600-mile trip to New York for his start at Yankee Stadium.
Made 23 apps over five stints with the Rays (Opening Day-April 25, May 13-June 21, June 25-July 3, July 26-Aug 3 and Sep 20 through season's end)…his final recall came after making 3 apps (2 starts) in the International League postseason, helping Triple-A Durham win the Governors' Cup title...Went at least 2 IP in 19 of his 23 apps…made 11 relief apps of at least 3 IP, tied with teammate Yonny Chirinos for 2nd-most in the majors behind teammate Ryan Yarbrough (23)…his 6 relief apps of at least 4 IP and 5 relief apps of at least 5 IP were both 3rd in the majors...Recorded 4 saves, including 3 saves of the 3 IP (or more) variety…has 4 saves in his career of this type, tied with Matt Andriese for most in club history...Originally was optioned to Durham on March 25, but was recalled before the season to replace Nathan Eovaldi (10-day DL) on the active roster, his second Opening Day roster...On Opening Day vs. BOS, did not allow a run in 2 IP and recorded the win after the Rays 6-run 8th inning…became the fifth reliever in club history with an Opening Day win and first since Fernando Rodney in 2012...On April 7 at BOS, did not allow a run in 4.1 IP, the longest scoreless relief app by a Ray since Álex Torres (5 IP) on Sep 24, 2011 vs. TOR and longest at Fenway Park since John Halama on April 29, 2004 (G2)...On April 11 at CWS, was charged with a blown save and a loss after allowing a 2-run, go-ahead homer to Matt Davidson in the 8th inning...On May 27 vs. BAL, went 5.2 IP for the second save of his career…it was the longest app ending with a save in franchise history…previous mark was 4 IP, 4x-last Matt Andriese on May 14, 2015 vs. NYY…since the save became an official statistic in 1969, it was only the fourth time a pitcher went at least 5.2 IP and recorded a save, following TEX Joaquin Benoit on Sep 3, 2002 at BAL (7 IP), TEX Horacio Pina on April 23, 1972 vs. CAL (6 IP) and OAK Bob Locker on Aug 12, 1970 vs. CLE (5.2 IP)...From May 22-June 7, went at least 5 IP in four consecutive relief apps, the first pitcher to do that (without a start in between) since PIT Bill Swift (4) from May 19-30, 1939…on June 7 vs. SEA, went 7 IP to match the longest outing for a reliever in franchise history...On July 27 at BAL, yielded 8 R/6 ER in the 7th inning, including a 3-run homer to Adam Jones and 3-run double to Joey Rickard…his 8 runs were a career high, and his 6 ER tied a career high…was the first Ray to allow 8 runs in a frame since Jeremy Hellickson on June 13, 2013 vs. KC (6th inning)…his 8 runs allowed were the most by a Rays reliever since Travis Harper on June 21, 2005 at NYY-though Jalen Beeks allowed 8 R/ER in his Rays debut the very next day.
Made 30 apps (8 starts) over three stints with the Rays, his first career major league action (Opening Day-May 9, May 31-June 27 and July 28 through the end of the season)... Went 2-3 with a 4.19 ERA (43-IP, 20-ER) and .245 opp avg. in his 8 starts, compared to 5-2 with a 6.53 ERA (40-IP, 29-ER) and .350 opp avg. in 22 relief apps... His 7 wins ranked 5th among AL rookies…his 5 wins as a reliever tied for 3rd among AL rookies, one shy of co-leaders LAA Keynan Middleton and SEA Tony Zych…only two rookies in franchise history ever recorded more wins as a reliever: Lance Carter (7) in 2003 and Victor Zambrano (6) in 2001... Threw first-pitch strikes to 66.0 pct. of batters faced, which would have ranked 5th in the majors if he qualified…according to Stats LLC, the only qualifier in franchise history to throw firstpitch strikes at a higher rate was David Price in 2014 (72.3) and 2013 (67.5)... Became the fourth pitcher in club history to make his major league debut on Opening Day, joining Ruddy Lugo (2006), Jason Childers (2006) and Seth McClung (2003)... Yielded runs in his first 6 career apps, though his only run allowed on Opening Day vs. NYY was unearned…it was the most consecutive apps by a reliever with a run to start their career in franchise history…he was the first pitcher to start his career that way since SD/PIT Marty McLeary in 2004-06 (6)... On April 19 vs. DET, recorded his first career win…retired his first 8 BF and faced the minimum 10 batters over 3.1 IP... Earned the win in 3 consecutive relief apps, April 19-28…was the first AL rookie with 3 wins in April since NYY Masahiro Tanaka in 2014… was the third Rays rookie with 3 wins in April and first since Lance Carter in 2003... Made his first career start on April 25 at BAL, a spot start due to the uncertain weather forecast…was chosen to start about 30 minutes before first pitch…his only hit allowed in 3 IP (all scoreless) was a Jonathan Schoop double... On June 23 vs. BAL, entered in the 7th inning, inherited a 14-5 lead, and did not allow a run in 3 IP of a 15-5 win for his first career save…was the first Ray with a save in a winning margin of 10 runs or more since Dale Thayer on May 22, 2009 at FLA (15-2)…just over two months later, Matt Andriese recorded a save in a 12-0 win on Aug 28 at KC... On Aug 2 at HOU, defeated Dallas Keuchel in front of 200 friends and family in the crowd… became the second rookie in club history to earn a win in a scoreless start against the majors' highest-scoring offense (also Scott Kazmir on Sep 14, 2004 at BOS, over Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez and the eventual World Series champions)…snapped Keuchel's 9-game winning streak to start the season and 11-game winning streak, dating back to Aug 21, 2016…it was the first time the Rays ever spoiled an opposing pitcher's record of 9-0 or better... Was the second pitcher in club history with scoreless apps in 2 of his first 3 starts with the Rays, joining James Shields (second and third starts were scoreless in 2006).
Named Most Valuable Player for Triple-A Durham by the Rays Baseball Operations department…spent the entire season with the Bulls, recording a career-best 28 starts, 162.2 IP, 149 SO and 1.19 WHIP...His 149 SO ranked 2nd in the International League to teammate Jaime Schultz (163)… finished 3rd among Rays minor leaguers to Schultz and Jacob Faria (157)...Also ranked among IL leaders in starts (tied for 1st), innings (4th) and WHIP (4th)…allowed a league-high 21 HR...Named to the IL midseason All-Star Team...Opened the season with a career-high 11 SO in back-to-back starts, the first two times in his career reaching double digits...Credited his uptick in strikeouts to the implementation of a cutter and the guidance of Bulls pitching coach Kyle Snyder...Issued only 27 BB, his fewest in three seasons with full-season affiliates…issued 1 BB or fewer in 22 of 28 starts, including 9 starts of 0 BB...Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in the Rays organization following the season…also tabbed by the publication as having the Best Control in the Rays system… earned the IL nod for Best Control in its Best Tools survey as well.