The son of MLB hall of famer Craig Biggio, Cavan has solidified his place in the Toronto Blue Jays’ future plans.
Biggio made his MLB debut on May 24, 2019. Two days later he got his first major league hit, going 3 for 4 on the day including a no doubt home run.
He slashed .234/.364/.429, with a 113 OPS +. The OBP stands out among those numbers. Biggio has always been known for his plate discipline going all the way back to his college days at Notre Dame. He amassed 125 walks in his college baseball career which ranks 8th all time in Notre Dame history.
Considering MLB rookies, his .364 mark ranks 17th best. If you narrow the field to those with at least 50 games played he jumps to 7th. Part of the reason for this is his O-Swing % (percentage of time a batter swings at pitches outside the strike zone). 15.8% ranks him near the top of MLB.
He has already had some memorable moments in his young big league career. On September 17 in Baltimore he became only the third player in Jays franchise history (along with Kelly Gruber and Jeff Frye) to hit for the cycle in an 8-5 Toronto win.
September 27, the Tampa Bay Rays used an unconventional four man outfield/shifted infield defence against Biggio. Biggio attempted to bunt against the shift for a base hit. He popped the ball up and when it went over the infielder’s head, he hustled it in to a bunt double.
Biggio may not have blazing speed (statcast ranks him 7th best among 2019 Blue Jays at 28.3 ft/sec with 27 being MLB average), but he is smart and picks his spots on the bases. He stole 14 bases without a single caught stealing. Putting that together with his 16 HRs and over a full season in the majors, Biggio could conceivably be a 20 20 man down the road.
In terms of defence, Biggio made 4 errors in his rookie campaign, but none after July 26, 2019. This speaks to his ability to work in areas of his game that can benefit from some improvements and make adjustments where necessary. Had he played enough innings at 2B to be a qualifier, his 4.11 range factor would have been 4th best in MLB and his .989 fielding percentage tied for 3rd best.
In spite of a fairly impressive list of accomplishments, Biggio’s rookie season wasn’t without its ups and downs. From June-August, his batting average hovered around the .200 mark. The Blue Jays were impressed with his ability to get on base, still they wanted to see more quality contact from him.
He adopted a more aggressive approach at the plate with impressive results in September. His slash line for the month was .300/.424/.563. His .987 OPS that month led all Blue Jays. While you don’t necessarily want to get too excited about September performances (opponents include September call ups who may or may not prove to be legitimate major league players in the long run), it will be interesting to see what kind of results he gets from this new approach over a full season in 2020.
Biggio has earned a spot with the Blue Jays in 2020. He is one of many young players who will make the team exciting to watch for years to come.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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