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The season that was: Joe Biagini

A look back at Biagini’s 2016 season

ALCS - Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Three Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

I hate this time of year, there isn’t an interesting rumor out there (that we haven’t already discussed). Yeah, there was a rumor that the Jays offered Edwin a 4-year, $80 million contract, but I couldn’t work up the energy to write 400 words about that. “Yep, seems about the right spot to open discussions with Edwin”...... And I need 390 more words.....

Joe Biagini was a Rule 5 pickup. We didn’t expect too much out of him. I didn’t expect him to make it through spring training. It is unusual for contending teams to carry a Rule 5 pick for the season. If you aren’t expecting to compete, it is ok to give up a roster spot to someone you don’t expect to contribute, but not a team that expects to be in the playoffs.

He didn’t have a particularly exciting spring training, pitching in 7 games, 9 innings, 8 hits, 4 earned, 2 homers, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. The 8 strikeouts was nice, but there isn’t much in that line that would make someone think he’d be helpful on the roster.

Before the season, I wrote:

He throws a fastball that can hit mid-90s. I guess there could be the hope that, like Liam Hendriks, his fastball picks up a bit pitching out of the bullpen, but I very much doubt he makes the team out of spring training.

I think it is far more likely that the Jays try to make a deal with the Giants to let us keep him and have him start in Buffalo. Shapiro has mentioned that the Bisons rotation was 5 question marks. If they can work out a trade, Biagini could fill one of those spots.

Well, he made the team:

Year   Age W L  ERA  G GF SV   IP  H ER HR BB SO HBP WP  H9 HR9 BB9 SO9
2016    26 4 3 3.06 60 12  1 67.2 69 23  3 19 62   5  3 9.2 0.4 2.5 8.2
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And he filled the ‘Liam Hendriks’ role nicely.

Joe had 9 holds. He had 2 blown saves, one where he took the loss and one that he got the win.

Baseball Reference has Joe at a 0.8 WAR. FanGraphs at 1.2, making him worth $9.5 million to the Jays.

Joe pitched in 6 playoff games. In 7.1 innings he allowed 3 hits, 1 walk and had 6 strikeouts, with no earned runs.

He had a 2.95 FIP and a 3.71 xFIP.

Batters had a .320 BABIP against him.

Joe stuck out 21.0% and walked 6.4% of batters. He gave up 21.5% line drives, 52.2% ground balls and 26.3% fly balls. 5.6% of his fly balls left the park.

He was better against RHB (.239/.296/.348) than LHB (.288/.347/.378).

He was better at home (2.84 ERA, batters hit .247/.304/.342) than on the road (3.34, .275/.333/.383).

With RISP batters hit .205/.289/.217, a nice stat for a reliever.

He was about the same in the first half (2.91 ERA, batters hit .271/.331/.343), as in the second half (3.21, .246/.302/.381).

Biagini by month:

  • April: 1.35 ERA in 5 games, 6.2 innings, 7 k, batters hit .269/.387/.695
  • May: 0.63, in 12 games, 14.1 innings, 10 k, .196/.208/.235
  • June: 8.59, in 10 games, 7.1 innings, 5 k, .400/.455/.525
  • July: 1.46, in 10 games, 12.1 innings, 14 k, .208/.269/.250
  • August: 1.76 in 12 games, 15.1 innings, 12 k, .222/.259/.296
  • September: 6.94 in 11 games, 11.2 innings, 14 k, .298/.382/.574

There were only 6 of last year’s Rule 5 pickups that spent the whole season with the team that drafted them. It seems like the pitchers did best. Matthew Bowman did a nice job in the Cardinals bullpen, 3.46 ERA in 67.2 innings. Deolis Guerra, for the Dodgers, was good too, 3.21 ERA in 53.1 innings.

The question for next year is should they use Joe as a starter, make him start the season in Buffalo, in their rotation and call him up when he’s ready and needed. Or should he be a reliever for the major league team. At the moment, the bullpen doesn't look all that deep, so I’d like him in the pen, but I’m hoping they make some moves between now and spring training.

Personally, I’d be ok with putting him in the closer role and moving Osuna to a more Andrew Miller type role. Bring Osuna into the game when it is on the line, no matter what inning it is and allow him to pitch more than a single inning when needed, but I very much like much doubt the Jays are likely to do that.

He seems like a fun guy. He’s good in front of the camera (sometimes I think he tries too hard to be funny, but that might just be me). And I’m sure you all saw him on Fallon’s show. It has been been fun getting to know him.

I wonder if the Jays have their eyes on another Rule 5 pitching pickup this year?