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Biagini presents option as 7th inning replacement

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With Joaquin Benoit on the DL for the foreseeable future, Manager John Gibbons is going to need a new 7th inning man. Let it be Joe.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Type in "Joe Biagini" to the search engine on Fangraphs, my choice of baseball statistic website, and you don't get a thing except a bunch of Joes that you're obviously not looking for. It's almost as if they don't know who he is. That they don't know he has been the Toronto Blue Jays biggest surprise in 2016. That he owns a 2.74 ERA in just his first season above Double-A.

Except that they do, but like the man himself, it's just a little different than what we've come to know. Joseph Biagini, as he's referred to on Fangraphs, has quietly been one of the Jays best relievers of 2016. I say quietly because across the league, it's unlikely Biagini has become a household name. Many Jays fans who followed the team during the playoff stretch last year are just experiencing their first taste of Mr. Biagini.

But the thing about that taste is that's it's been palatable from start to finish. As a rule 5 draft pick who was forced to be on the major league roster throughout the season or be given back to his former San Francisco Giants, Biagini has always been that player that you have to keep or give away for nothing. Instead of becoming a tag-along though, Biagini has become a force.

In just over 65 innings pitched this season, Biagini has been exceptional. His 1.0 bWAR ranks third in the Blue Jays bullpen behind only Roberto Osuna and Joaquin Benoit in a somewhat undefined role. That is, he's been treated with the sentiment that we know he's important but not important enough to get his own inning kind of thing.

Benoit has the 7th. Jason Grilli has the 8th and Osuna has the 9th. Joe, you can fit in...well where we can fit you in.This can actually be a pretty difficult position to pitch in. Just ask Scott Feldman or essentially the rest of the Blue Jays bullpen that manager John Gibbons has a hard time trusting right now. I mean, just imagine. Imagine sitting around all day at home, eating sunflower seeds and shooting the breeze with your friends while also knowing that at any moment you could be called upon to go to work with 24 other men and millions of fans relying upon you. Ya, no pressure, but you better be on top of your game. No practice? I don't particularly care.

Except there's a chance that that stalling and sitting around may be over for Biagini. With Benoit out for the foreseeable future, Gibbons is going to have to rely on someone else for the 7th inning. While that person won't necessarily be Biagini, there's only so many options he can go with. Brett Cecil is one he could employ but Gibbons has seemed reluctant as of late to use the southpaw for an entire inning and until quite recently, didn't seem to have any trust in him either. And Joe is deserving of this look. In high-leverage situations this year, (14.1 IP), Biagini has only gotten better lowering his slash line against to .185/.289/.216.

It's possible he uses a combination of the two relievers as well. It's even possible that Mr. Gibbons doesn't exactly know the formula to which he's going to utilize going forward. But one certainty is that for the next three games and into the playoffs (if they get there) Gibbons is going to have to find a new strategy and put some sort of faith in it.

For it's the playoffs where champions are made on the backs of bullpens starting as early as the 4th and 5th innings at times. Just ask the Kansas City Royals. While there may be more additions upon their arrival in October, (looking at you Marcus), Joe Biagini is an option that certainly has earned a look.

For now, all you have to do is find his name.