As if a .388 OBP and an Eastern League MVP award didn’t make Cavan Biggio impressive enough, he’s adding some defensive versatility to his resume this fall.
For all the talk about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Nate Pearson, and several other Blue Jays prospects, it’s easy to forget about some of the other talented sluggers in the Blue Jays minor league system. However, Cavan Biggio isn’t about to let himself fly under the radar.
He did anything but in 2018, slashing an impressive .252/.388/.499 with 26 home runs, 23 doubles, 99 RBI, and 20 stolen bases in just 449 at bats in Double-A this year. The performance was good enough to earn him league MVP honours, an impressive feat especially considering the talent of his own teammates on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this past season.
If Biggio’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s another Hall of Fame offspring, just like Vlad Jr. His father Craig starred with the Astros in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 after a career that spanned 20 years in the big leagues. Every game of his career was played in Houston, and in addition to being an offensive star he also provided a lot of defensive value, especially early in his career. He was also pretty versatile and adaptive throughout his two decades as a big leaguer, spending time as a catcher, at second base, and also in the outfield.
Like his father, young Cavan is pretty versatile in his own right at the age of 23. This past season he spent significant time at second base (64 starts), third base (34 starts), and first base (22 starts), while also dabbling in the outfield for a pair of games later in the season.
He’s also one of the prospects that’s playing in the Arizona Fall league this year, and for the most part the Blue Jays are going to be focusing his work in the outfield in an attempt to add another defensive position to his resume. He showed himself more than capable of moving around this past year in New Hampshire, and that versatility could play into how soon a big league opportunity comes for the 9th ranked prospect in their minor league system.
In an interview posted by the Blue Jays Twitter account yesterday, Biggio talked about being excited to take part in the AFL, a willingness to work out in the outfield, and how despite coming up primarily as a second baseman, he’s ready and willing to do whatever is asked of him by the organization that employs him.
Personally, I can’t help but like what I’m hearing from the budding slugger, especially in his willingness to do what’s best for his team, and for his own development
“Whatever you’ve gotta do to accommodate the best interests of the team, then you should do it”
What else could you really ask for in a response? Biggio talked about growing up and watching his Dad move around the diamond, which lead to an understanding that there is value in having that ability, being willing to do what’s best for your team, and for the good of your own career. In fact, you could make a solid argument that Craig Biggio‘s career doesn’t last 20 years if he refused to move from second base, or worse, from where he started as a catcher.
That lesson doesn’t appear to have been lost on his son, which will definitely work in the Blue Jays’ favour. With a future infield that could include the likes of Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and several other talents, Biggio’s ability to play different positions will more than likely hasten his delivery to the big leagues, and will give him a much better chance to stick as a lineup regular in Toronto.
Imagine for a moment that he was a strictly a second baseman. In that case he would have to overtake one of Bichette and Gurriel, not to mention the plethora of other talented middle infielders in the organization. Alright fine, move him to third then. Only that spot is taken up by the #1 prospect in the game. Even first base could be a tough job to win in the future if Rowdy Tellez continues to wipe away the 2017 season, or if the Blue Jays entertain extending Justin Smoak beyond next year.
His ability to play first, and especially the newer position in the outfield, will likely be his ultimate landing spot, at least as long as his career path has him as a Blue Jay. The club is wise to have the forethought to be giving him that experience this fall, and I’m glad he’s open-minded about it as well. There’s a good chance it’ll continue when he reports to camp next spring too, when he likely sees himself moved up to Triple-A Buffalo after his MVP campaign in Double-A.
If Biggio can continue to punish the baseball in the batter’s box and show a serviceable ability around the diamond, he’ll make his way to the big leagues sooner than later. Injuries and veteran trades during a rebuild can change things in a hurry, but my guess we’ll see him sometime early in 2020, or perhaps even next September. Whenever it is, it’ll be a lot easier to find him playing time if he can play almost anywhere on the diamond.