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The season that was: Cavan Biggio

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A look at Cavan’s 2019 season.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In 2017 Cavan Biggio took a lot of walks, a struck out a fair bit. We were a little skeptical that he was a real prospect. He was 34 on our prospect list. Matt said this:

The best part of his offensive profile was the robust OBP - at least in relation to his batting average - as he drew 74 walks. But that was accompanied with 140 strikeouts, and that was not due to massive swing-and-miss issues. Rather, it’s a good example of the difference between a patient hitter, and a discriminating hitter. Biggio was very patient, taking a lot of pitches and working pitchers and counts. But he was not particularly discriminating in terms of differentiating balls and strikes, and ended up behind in a lot of counts and looking at strike 3.

Basically his plan seemed to be be patient and hope for a walk.

2018 he learned how to turn on a pitch. He was still patient, but he was aggressive enough to pick out pitches he could hit hard.

It was a breakout season. He hit .252/.388/.499 with 26 home runs and 100 walks. . The Year before he hit just 11 home runs, in about the same number of PA, in Dunedin, so the power was a bit of a surprise.

It moved him up to number 10 on our prospect list.

There were still questions, ‘was he going to have a position?’ was one of them. He played second, third, first and then, in the Arizona Fall League he played outfield. It seemed the team was thinking his best chance to stick in the majors was as a utility player. Now there is nothing wrong with being a utility player, but they don’t tend to populate the top of our prospect lists.

And, of course, we wondered if the power would stick.

This year he started the season in Buffalo, playing 43 games there. He hit .312/.448/.514 with 6 home runs there, while playing all around the diamond.

On May 24th he was called up to the majors and spent the rest of the season there.

Standard Batting
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
100 430 354 66 83 17 2 16 48 14 0 71 123 .234 .364 .429 .793 113
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2019.

Baseball Reference has him at a 2.8 WAR. FanGraphs 2.4, making him worth $19.5 million to the team.

He had a .343 wOBA and a 114 wRC+.

Biggio’s walk rate was 16.5% (team average: 8.4%) and strikeout rate was 28.6% (team average: 24.9%).

His line drive rate was 27.6% (team average 21.0%), ground ball rate 25.4% (team average 39.8%) and fly ball rate 47.0% (team average 39.2%). His fly balls were leaving the park 14.7% of the time (team average 15.8%).

His hard contact rate was 39.5% (team average 37.9%) and soft contact rate was 12.4% (team average 17.9).

His BABIP was .309 (team average: .280).

Cavan hit right-handers (.233/.361/.458) better than lefties (.237/.368/.373), or at least he showed more power off right-handers.

He hit much the same at home (.221/.370/.431) as on the road (.249/.346/.428).

With runners in scoring position he hit .280/.397/.400.

He hit about the same in the first half (.232/.362/.424) as he did in the second half (.236/.365/.432).

Biggio by month:

  • May: .278/.316/.444 with 1 home run, 1 walks and 6 strikeouts in 6 games.
  • June: .220/369/.451 with 5 home runs, 20 walks and 29 strikeouts in 25 games.
  • July: .193/.337/.301 with 2 home runs, 18 walks and 28 strikeouts in 23 games.
  • August: .220/.336/.407 with 4 home runs, 16 walks and 30 strikeouts in 24 games.
  • September: .300/.424/.563 with 4 home run, 16 walks and 30 strikeouts in 22 games.

There was kind of a lull there in July. He seemed to be back in the ’keep the bat on the shoulder and hope for a walk’ mode. Towards the end of August he made an adjustment and got more aggressive and he started hitting the ball hard again.

Defensively, when first came up he was used all over the place, but they soon decided to put him at second and leave him there.

At second he had a -0.2 UZR/150. Pretty much league average. I thought he improved as the season went on. He made 4 errors, 1 fielding, 3 throwing. He didn’t play enough at any of the other spots to get a good feel for his defense.

FanGraphs has him at 4.9 runs better than the average base runner. I’m sure that is helped out by him going 14 and 0 as a base stealer. That 14 and 0 is a pretty amazing stat. In his 4 seasons in the minors he had 47 steals and 19 times caught, a 71% success rate. Good, but not something that suggests he would be a perfect base stealer in the majors.

In games he started Cavan hit:

  • 1st: 7 games.
  • 2nd: 46 games.
  • 3rd: 1 game.
  • 4th: 20 games.
  • 5th: 2 games.
  • 6th: 12 games.
  • 7th: 8 games.
  • 8th: 2 games.

Ultimately I think he’d be a pretty good leadoff hitter.

The Blue Jays were 45-53 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 7 game. Longest on base streak was 29 games. The longest he went without a home run was 19 games.

His favorite team to face? He hit .333/.440/.762 in 6 games vs. the Astros. He also hit .324/.500/.541 in 12 game against the Red Sox and .268/.382/.643 in 14 games against the Orioles.

Least favorite? Well he hit .167/.327/.333 in 12 games against the Rays.


I’d bet that Cavan was called out on strikes on pitches just off the plate more than any batter in the MLB.

It is going to be interesting to watch his career. He seems a smart player. He seems to be able to make adjustments, which is a good quality to have. It might help that Cavan has a Hall of Fame father who can make suggestions.

How does Cavan compare to his father, Craig?

Craig came up to the majors younger. By the end of his age 24 season, Craig had 1261 PA, so Cavan has some catching up to do...but then I wouldn’t want to compare myself to my father either, and he’s not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Craig was a catcher at Cavan’s age. He would become a second baseman in his age 26 season.

But then, by the end of his age 24 season Craig was hitting .261/.330/.369 with 20 home runs, 52 steals and 15 times caught. After his age 24 season Craig had a 5.9 total bWAR.

Cavan has a .234/.364/.429 line after his age 24 season, with 16 home runs, 14 steals, 0 caught, and a 2.8.

So Cavan is ahead on home runs (and if he hits 1 home run next year he’ll continue that lead. He’s ahead in OBP and Slugging. Hopefully it will be many years before Cavan catches up to Craig’s 15 caught stealing.

Craig made his first All-Star team in his age 25 season. It would be nice if Cavan matches that. Craig would be an All-Star 7 of the next 8 seasons. Another one that I’d love Cavan to match.

It isn’t really fair to compare a young player to a Hall of Famer.

One thing he and his dad have in common is each have hit for the cycle.

Poll

For his 2019 season, I would grade Cavan Biggio a

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (88 votes)
  • 43%
    B+
    (249 votes)
  • 25%
    B
    (147 votes)
  • 11%
    B-
    (63 votes)
  • 2%
    C+
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    C
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    C-
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    D+
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    D-
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (0 votes)
568 votes total Vote Now

It wasn’t hard to find highlight of Cavan’s season: