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

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Thundershoe
Thundershoe
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Thundershoe
1 year ago

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.

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
1 year ago

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

Leducski
Leducski
1 year ago

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

leducski
leducski
Reply to  Son
1 year ago

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

Grey
Admin
1 year ago

Great post, Son! Papa proud!

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Son
1 year ago

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

Son
Son
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

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

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Son
1 year ago

Haha, sorry!

Keeks
Keeks
1 year ago

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

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Keeks
1 year ago

Excuse me!

Keeks
Keeks
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Oh you’re right, its *Geoff now.

My B!

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Keeks
1 year ago

Hahaha

The Itch
Reply to  Keeks
1 year ago

Shizz, mine too. Rent was due on the first, Son.

PS: Great work!

PPS: Wow to the OBP v lefties.

Chucky
Chucky
1 year ago

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?

Matt Lawrence
Matt Lawrence
1 year ago

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
William Hung
Reply to  Matt Lawrence
1 year ago

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

BtheEsq.
BtheEsq.
1 year ago

Thoughts on Biggio longer term for keeper league value?

RICE
RICE
1 year ago

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!

Don't be a Hader
Don't be a Hader
1 year ago

Bull or Bear?
V. Robles
B.Singer
A.Colome
A.Baddoo

Feel free to elaborate :)

Pogba
Pogba
Reply to  Son
1 year ago

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.

William Hung
William Hung
1 year ago

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

William Hung
William Hung
Reply to  Son
1 year ago

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