Joe Biagini was a Rule 5 pickup before the 2016 and he was surprisingly terrific in the bullpen. He went from long relief/mopup to setup man very quickly. He end the season with 9 holds.
2017 started with Joe still in that setup role and the season started well. By May injuries had hit the rotation and Joe was moved into a starting role. I thought it was unfair to move him into the rotation without letting him start in the minors and stretch out his arm a bit, but his first couple of starts went well, 9 innings total, no runs, 6 hits, no walk and 9 strikeouts. It looked like we found a good starter.
Then it went bad. He’d make 9 more starts and go 1-7 with a 6.80. Back to the bullpen and things went better, in 12 games he had a 5.54 ERA, with 10 holds. The ERA took a beating in two bad games, but the other games went very well.
In August he went down to Buffalo to stretch out his arm to start. He would make 7 starts, from August 27th until the end of the season. It didn’t go all that much better than earlier in the season, 0-5 with a 5.94 ERA.
2018 started with Joe in the rotation again. He made 4 starts. He was 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA and he was back to the pen for good. But this time he wasn’t much better in the pen. He would make 45 relief appearances, have a 5.40 ERA, and batters hit .321/.374/.541 against him in those games.
The question is, as it has been for the last couple of years:
What are the Jays going to do with Biagini?
I’m guessing that the idea of him starting is completely and totally over. I don’t know what it is with him and starting but it hasn’t worked out. It seems like things will be going well and then something happens, an error or a walk or a single through the infield and it all unravels.
I thought he had trouble with runners on base, but his career numbers are much the same with bases empty and with runners on. And, last year, he was much better with runners on base than with the bases empty.
And he’s not losing speed on his pitches. FanGraphs shows he averaged 94.3 mph on his fastball last year, exactly the same as his rookie year. And he used his pitches at much the same rates as in the past. If you can average 94 mph, you should be able to have some success in the majors.
I do think it is a make it or break it season for Joe. He can be optioned this year, so I’d imagine he makes it to the end of the season with the franchise. But he needs to show he can be successful if he wants to be on team in the future.
Steamer predicts Joe to pitch 40 innings, in 40 games, and have a 4.34 ERA. I think that, if his ERA is as low as that, he’ll get more than 40 innings. I would also imagine he’ll average better than an inning an appearance. I think his role is going to be long reliever or at least someone that gets us 2 innings when we need them.
If the over/under on Biagini is 40 MLB innings I’d take the
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The other question is will he be with the Blue Jays after this season.
Biagini is turning 29 at the end of May. He has to show us that he’s a finished piece soon and not that he’s still a prospect, still someone, with good stuff, who hasn’t figured it out yet.
Opening Day 2020 Biagini is
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Still a Blue Jay