It’s a story as old as time itself. Boy sees prospect. Boy sees prospect’s father is a Hall of Famer. Prospect double-doubles in the minors. Boy falls in love. Boy wants to get married. Prospect, who has grown into a major leaguer breaks boys heart. Boy’s life is now in disarray. Cavan Biggio of the Toronto Blue Jays has had a rough start to the season, causing much distress in the fantasy streets. Is it time to move on or ’till death do us part?

Biggio was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

He didn’t exhibit any power in his first year but the walk and strikeout rates were very good. In his second season, he went 11/11 in 556 plate appearances. The strikeout rate ticked up to 25.2% and the walk rate was 13.3%, but the batting average was a meh .233. When he went up to Double-A in 2018, the strikeout rate ticked up to 26.3% but so did the ISO to .247. He went 26/20 in 563 plate appearances and wedding bells were ringing all across the land.

When he made the bigs in 2019, the slash was .234/.364/.429, walk rate was 16.5%, and the strikeout rate was 28.6%. But, but, but….the ISO was a robust .195 and he went 16/14 in 430 plate appearances. That ain’t bad for one’s first season with the big boys.

During last year’s COVID season, the walk rate was 15.5%, strikeout rate was 23%, ISO was .182, while the slash was .250/.375/.432. He went 8/6 in 265 plate appearances. I think we have a pretty good idea of the type of player Biggio is now.

The one knock on his game, though, was the lack of aggressiveness. Last season, he swung at 36% of pitchers. Only Yasmani Grandal and Christian Yelich swung at fewer pitches. Looking at the other batters around him, maybe it’s not such a bad thing, though – Juan Soto, Joey Votto, Max Muncy, and some Mike Trout guy.

Regardless, entering this season, he wanted to be more aggressive, especially early in the count.

Well, mission accomplished. He’s swinging at 42.3% of pitches. He’s increased the swings inside the zone by 4.7%.

It’s totally messed him up, though. The strikeout rate is 34.1% while the contact rate has gone down. Inside the zone, the contact rate has remained the same, but he’s chasing 10% more frequently than last year and the contact rate outside the zone has plummetted 10.3%. As a result, the swinging strike rate is at 13.6%. He had never had a rate higher than 9.9% in any professional season.

He’s barreling fewer pitches and the hard-hit rate has decreased. If you’re still not buying that the approach has changed, the pull rate has decreased from 47.2% to 34.1%. He’s going oppo 9.8% more this season than last.

Against left-handed pitching, he’s slashing .056/.150/.056 in 20 plate appearances. In his career, the slash is .241/.382/.369, which is better than the numbers against righties, although the power is greater against righties.

Now, not all is bad. The average exit velocity is at a career-high 89.2 mph while the max exit velocity is at 108, 3.4 mph faster than his prior high.

What’s it all mean and what’s the outlook going forward?

This is a tough one because I can envision multiple paths. The simple route would be that Biggio just goes back to what made him successful in the past. Just be patient and eschew the aggressiveness campaign. Easy peasy. That could be a 20/15 player with a .240 average and high OBP. Unfortunately, it’s not easy like flipping the light switch.

Another path is that he continues on this new path and eventually incorporates the newfound approach to his foundation. This would mean ups and downs in the short term but could reap big rewards later in the season.

The third path is that he just mind f’s himself all season. This whole process could just short circuit him, ending in a demotion to the minors to “get his head right” or “work on his approach.”

Baseball is freaking hard and any disruption to the status quo can easily send one into a vortex of uncertainty and confusion. And once pitchers see that, it’s game over.

Now, all three paths are viable outcomes and all are within the range of outcomes. I think he goes down the third path, gets sent down for a bit, then gets back to his roots. I think he eschews the aggressive campaign, gets his timing and groove back, then returns to the majors later and rakes. Could take some time, though. So…..in the short term:

VERDICT

Bear Toilet Paper Holder Short — Ma & Pa's

 
  1. William Hung says:
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    What do you make of him not even attempting any steals so far? I would’ve hoped he’d at least attempt 1 SB by now too

    • Son

      Son says:
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      It’s probably such a shock to the system when he actually gets on base that his brain short circuits

      • William Hung says:
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        Yeah I keep flip flopping on whether or not to swap him out for McNeil. In one way, it’s a no brainer because Biggio can do things McNeil can’t, but McNeil is a safe option I can play in there and I know he won’t hurt me.

        My scoring format for batters is 5 standard cats + OPS, Ks, and ABs, so McNeil season to date is beating him in everything, but expectations has Biggio outperforming McNeil in just about everything except Ks

        • Son

          Son says:
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          I feel your pain. Biggio has the higher ceiling but it’s going to take some time to get there

  2. Don't be a Hader says:
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    Bull or Bear?
    V. Robles
    B.Singer
    A.Colome
    A.Baddoo

    Feel free to elaborate :)

      • Pogba says:
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        Isn’t robles plate discipline a product of hitting in front of the pitcher. I’m more concerned with the late drop in speed via statcast. The contact seems to remain the same but for someone who’s value relies on speed I’d be worried.

        • Son

          Son says:
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          That probably has something to do with it but he spent the entire 2019 season hitting in front of the pitcher and the discipline numbers weren’t like that then.
          I hear you on the drop in speed but he’s still in the 80th percentile range. He’s 24 years old and still growing and developing.

  3. RICE says:
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    Son!!!

    Perfect timing on this article! I’ve been doing everything I can in a 10-teamer to not give up on this kid.

    I have two dudes coming off the IL this week and I think, in my 10-teamer, it’s time to let Biggio go. I’ll keep a cyclops on him.

    Great analysis!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      RICE RICE BABY!

      Yeah, I think in a 10-teamer that’s fine. Should be plenty of options

  4. BtheEsq. says:
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    Thoughts on Biggio longer term for keeper league value?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      I like him for the long term

  5. Matt Lawrence says:
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    Son: This is really well written and helpful. I’ve been sputtering on razzball but it’s posts like this that keep me coming back. Thank you very much!

    I almost hate dropped him in a 12-team keeper league but in light of this will stand pat for now. If he gets sent down he can go to my NA slot so I will actually hope for that!

    • William Hung says:
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      Def in keeper he’s a hold – can’t imagine he suddenly lost his skill so quickly… though to be fair, it has happened as recently as Benintendi

      • Son

        Son says:
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        But Benintendi is back, baby!!!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Much appreicated, Matt. Why sputtering on Razzball? Grey is the freaking GOAT and all the other writers are fantastic.

      Rage drop! We’ve all been there. Yeah, getting sent down might be the best thing for him.

  6. Chucky says:
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    Been experimenting with Fletcher, Odor and Polanco in lieu of Biggio now for a bit. In a keep forever twelve teamer would you swap out Biggio as a bench stash for say an Adel, another bench stash?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      I’m holding Biggio

  7. Keeks says:
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    Thanks Son, Keep kicking Ralph and Grey’s butt in the RCL! You are in their heads rent free!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Excuse me!

      • Keeks says:
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        Oh you’re right, its *Geoff now.

        My B!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Hahaha

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Ha! It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Shizz, mine too. Rent was due on the first, Son.

      PS: Great work!

      PPS: Wow to the OBP v lefties.

      • Son

        Son says:
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        Ha! Thanks! I think I may have shot my load too early, though.

        Indeed on the OBP vs. lefties. He can be a machine if he can ever put it all together

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Great post, Son! Papa proud!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Thanks, Grey! Now, excuse while I go grab my always sharpened seppuku knives and do the deed. Because there really is no point in living anymore. I have reached the pinnacle of my existence

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Just checking in to see if you’ve done the deed

        • Son

          Son says:
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          I got woken up from my Rest In Peace for this?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha, sorry!

  9. Leducski says:
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    Need an outfielder on a 12 team points league. Would you Pickup AJ Pollock or Michael Conforto.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      What are the settings?

      • leducski says:
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        points 12 Teams Head to head
        Hitter Settings are
        Hits 0.5
        Runs scored 1
        Single 1
        Double 2
        Triple 3
        HR 4
        RBI 1
        Game winning RBI .25
        Walks 1
        Intentional walk 1
        HBP .25
        K-.25
        Stolen base 2
        Cycle 15
        Grand slam 8
        Outfield assist .5
        Error -1
        DPT 0.25

        • Son

          Son says:
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          Wow. Game winning RBI? I feel like Cycle isn’t rewarded enough! Outfield assist? Anyways, I’m not exactly sure but probably Conforto

  10. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Taking this a slightly different route. Just for fun.

    Bull or bear: we get one 45 homer player this year. And if bull, who do you think does it?

    Thanks Son,

    Jolt

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Acuna

  11. Thundershoe says:
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    Hey Son, Great piece per usual – loved the opener!

    So in my 14-teamer, it seems that it wouldn’t be prudent to drop Biggio, seeing as he is my only 3B currently, and the top waiver wire options are guys like J. Harrison and L. Arraez. Arraez isn’t actually too bad – he provides solid value in my points league where Ks are -1, while Biggio’s value is destroyed by his Ks (Biggio has scored a paltry 22 points so far in contrast to Arraez’s 63). Arraez doesn’t have the upside of Biggio of course.

    I’m not really sure what my approach should be with Biggio. Should I give him another few weeks to see what happens and then drop him if he’s still crawling along? I’ve been trying to trade Biggio without success, and I’m not confident I’ll be able to deal for another 3B. What would you do in my shoes?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Personally, I’d probably stream but it comes down to your long term outlook for him. If you’re a believer, then you hold, pray, and make the necessary sacrifices.

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