With news that the Blue Jays have promoted potential super utility player Cavan Biggio to the majors, two-thirds of the trio that propelled AA New Hampshire to great first and second half heights last year are now in Toronto.
With the call up of Vladimir Guerrero Jr to Toronto several weeks ago, only Bo Bichette, recently cleared to begin light baseball duties, remains in the minors. Depending on the progress of his recovery and the availability of suitors for Freddy Galvis, Bichette may be in Toronto this summer, although 2020 looks like a better bet.
What to expect from Biggio, though, the Blue Jays 5th round pick in 2016? The son of the Hall of Famer had a breakthrough 2018, and if anything has improved on his ability to make more consistent contact this year.
Biggio had a power surge in his sophomore year of college, but other than that showed little hint of the long ball ability he has displayed the last two seasons. The makeover began in the Florida State League in 2017, when Biggio experienced a large jump in his K rate, but with a similar rise in his flyball %. He dropped his hands, and it was obvious, even in the black hole of media coverage that is the Florida State League, that Biggio was attempting to change his swing from a line drive model to more of a loft one. That he hit “only” 11 HRs that year may have overshadowed the change, but sources in Florida indicated that the larger FSL parks and humid FLA weather conspired to keep a lot of his long balls in the park.
Everything came together for Biggio last year in New Hampshire. Biggio led the Eastern League in Homers, and led the Fisher Cats to a title as he captured MVP honours. Just four strikeouts shy of a Three True Outcomes title, Biggio has increased his walk rate and almost halved his K rate in Buffalo this year. He still works the count, but is making more contact, and isn’t afraid to be aggressive early in the count if he sees a pitch he can drive.
Defence has always been the weakest part of Biggio’s game. His athleticism in learning to play the corner OF spots in the Arizona Fall League last year was obvious, and he’s more than capable of making highlight-reel plays. Consistency has been the biggest need for Biggio on the defensive side of the ball, and his arm strength is still average at best. The Blue Jays have continued to develop Biggio at multiple positions, but half of his reps this year have come at 2nd, his original position, and it’s possible that’s where he ultimately ends up.
One thing is for certain, and that’s Biggio’s bat. It will play well in the Rogers Centre, and he will be a welcome addition to the Blue Jays lineup wherever he plays.