Jays From The Couch Is Missing Blue Jays Baseball, So We’ll Preview The 2020 Season For Individual Players. This Time, Cavan Biggio
The Toronto Blue Jays are still a thing, right? While we wait to see if and when baseball will be played, and in what capacity, here’s a look at a rather under-rated part of Toronto’s roster- Cavan Biggio.
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft, the son of a Hall of Famer first entered the minds of Blue Jays fans because of his famous last name. In fact, he was part of the organization’s attempt at tapping into bloodlines. Alex Anthopolous signed Vladimir Guerrero Jr.the year before and the new front office regime took it a step further by drafting Biggio and Bo Bichette (66th overall) the following year.
Cavan Biggio has always come with a scouting report that teams would probably appreciate more than the casual fan. He hasn’t been touted as a guy who will hit for tremendous power or light up the base paths. He may never challenge for a batting title or a Gold Glove. But, he has always had the reputation of having a good idea at the plate and likely the most difficult ability to quantify: intelligence. His baseball IQ has allowed him to rise through Toronto’s system and make his debut in 2019 to much less fanfare than that of Vlad Jr or Bichette.
However, if 2019 taught us anything, we really can’t ignore baseball intelligence and what it means to a player’s success. Biggio put up a 114 wRC+ and an OPS of .793. For most players, that is good, but not overly exciting. What is interesting about how Biggio did this is that his .793 OPS is made up of a batting average of .234 (meh) and an OBP of .364 (woah!). His xwOBA of .345 put him in the 68th percentile, according to Statcast.
We cannot understate Biggio’s plate approach because it is what makes him such a special talent. Take a look at the following: BB %: 16.5%, Chase %: 13.5, Swing %: 35.9, O-Swing %: 15.8% (O-Contact%: 47.1%), Contact: 75.9%. All of this points to a patient batter with a good eye at the plate.
However, the 25 year old also possesses nice speed. Statcast had his 2019 Sprint Speed in the 81st percentile. He stole 14 bases in 100 big league games last year and 26 in AA the season before. His combination of speed and intelligence bring another element to his game, one that will likely go without much fanfare, but will provide value to the roster. This combined with his high OBP likely make him the perfect candidate to hit atop Toronto’s lineup.
But, wait! There’s more. Defensively speaking, Biggio’s defense ranked in the 92nd percentile. He put up 7 OAA. Fangraphs lists -1 DRS and a UZR/150 of -0.2. Because of his defensive ability and his intelligence, it would make sense that the Blue Jays tried him at multiple positions. Nearing the end of the 2019 season and looking ahead at the season to come, there were multiple areas of need in the field.
The club tried Biggio in the outfield and at first base. In 61 right field innings, he put up -1 DRS, but -39.9 UZR/150, which is a bit of a surprise, given his speed. At first base, in 33 innings, he put up 0 DRS and -80.1 UZR/150. On the surface, it looks like experimenting with different positions gave the club answers it needed, answers that, at least in part, led them to sign Travis Shaw.
If the season were to start tomorrow (wouldn’t that be nice?), it makes sens that the Blue Jays simply leave Biggio at second base and look for other options in the outfield. They aren’t overflowing with talent there, but Biggio has found a home at second and he should stay there.
Biggio is projected to put up 20 HR, 65 RBI, an OBP around .350, ~ 100 wRC+ and 2+ fWAR. We have seen players suffer from the sophomore jinx, but we have also seen players get even better. The coming season could prove to be rather interesting for Biggio. He could be developing into an All Star for years to come. Or, he could simply be a very good player year after year. His tools aren’t flashy, but they certainly are what solid big league careers are based on.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.