Blue Jays Top-30 Prospects #23: Joe Biagini

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After being drafted in 2015’s Rule 5 Draft, Blue Jays pitching prospect Joe Biagini has serious potential to become a Major League asset

Hon. Mentions Part 1         Hon. Mentions Part 2
#30: Freddy Rodriguez      #29: Evan Smith
#28: Deiferson Barreto      #27: Chad Girodo
#25:  Rodrigo Orozco    #25:  Reggie Pruitt

Joe Biagini has yet to pitch above the AA level, but in his four years in the minors has seen growth every step of the way. He was drafted 26th by the Giants in the 2011 Amateur Draft out of University of California, Davis. Despite Productivity in the Giant’s farm system, he was not included on San Francisco’s 40 man roster and was selected 10th by the Blue Jays in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Name: Joe Biagini
Position: SP          Age: 25
Height: 6’4”    Age: 215 lbs.
Throws: Right             Bats: Right
Acquired: 10th pick in 2015 Rule 5 Draft

Biagini immediately became a valuable asset to the Blue Jays farm system after being selected. While many site this being due to Toronto’s slim prospect and Minor League depth, Biagini has shown flashes of dominance in his short career in the minors.

In 2015, he spent his first full year at the AA level, and while he saw his and strikeout rate much lower than in previous years, virtually every other stat was higher. He tied his career high for 10 wins while posting career bests in ERA, WHIP, HR/9 and BB/9. Biagini managed to do all of this while pitching to a single-season high in workload. All of these led to him being named the starting pitcher for the Eastern League All-Star Game this season.

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While all of this is impressive, he may not profile as being a Major League starter anytime soon. His continual decline in Strikeout Rate could seriously hurt him as he rises through the ranks unless he’s able to produce softer contact.

What he lacks in strikeouts, he thankfully makes up for with ground outs. Furthermore most of his batted balls in play go straight up the Diamond to the pitcher, second baseman, and centre fielder. He possesses a “slurvy” breaking ball, a decent fastball that has peaked 92-93 MPH and a curveball in the low 80’s. With continual growth of these three pitches, and potential development of a fourth, he could grow into a quietly valuable piece for the organization.

While Biagini has a ways to go to be a relevant MLB starter, he may be much closer to being a MLB long relief option. His pitching repertoire would seemingly indicate that he’d be very adept at pitching a few innings of relief in the middle innings.

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If conditioned for this, and if his stuff stays as nasty as it was in 2015 as he rises through the ranks, Biagini could become a valuable asset for the Jays relief core down the line. His Rule 5 status would force the Blue Jays to offer him back to his original club should he not make the 25-man roster, but it’s also possible that Toronto and San Francisco work out a very minor deal to keep Biagini at the AAA Buffalo level where he would then be a “next man up” candidate.

Much of this depends on his 2016 spring performance. Biagini will need to improve upon his 2015 stats and if the Jays do manage to sneak him to Buffalo, he will need to prove that he can hang tough with and against the future stars of the MLB and grizzle veterans. Biagini still has a long road ahead of him, with any luck the Blue Jays may have come into a steal of a player. Keep in mind players like Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, and Joakim Soria are all former Rule 5 pick-ups.

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