Blue Jays 2017 top prospects: #25, 2B Cavan Biggio

Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Cavan Biggio projects to be a fast riser for the Blue Jays entering his first full season in the minors

The Blue Jays have added some impressive bloodlines in recent years, including second-baseman Cavan Biggio, son of the Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio who played 20 seasons with the Houston Astros.

Toronto’s version of Biggio will spend his prospect years battling the high expectations that come with his name and the presumption that he has a limited ceiling as a 5th-round college pick out of Notre Dame.

His fundamental base is very encouraging, however, and Biggio is the type of prospect that can be undervalued.

Name: Cavan Biggio
Position: 2B        Age: 21
Height: 6’1”    Age: 203 lbs.
Throws: Right            Bats: Left
Acquired: 2016, MLB Draft (Round 5)

Biggio finished his NCAA career very strong with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, hitting .311 with a .927 OPS in the 2016 season. He was a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen base attempts and showed excellent plate discipline, walking 54 times compared to just 32 strikeouts.

Baseball America’s John Manuel awarded Biggio the best strike-zone discipline in the Blue Jays’ farm system, and that carried right over to the pros. Between short-season Vancouver and single-A Lansing, Biggio had 33 walks with 35 strikeouts, giving him an on-base percentage nearly .100 points higher than his batting average.

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Grabbing Biggio in the fifth round was strong value for the Blue Jays, and fit well into their overall draft strategy after selecting the high-upside (but less certain) Bo Bichette in the second round. Coming out of high school, Biggio would have been an even higher pick had it not been for his college commitment (Philadelphia took a flier on him in the 29th round in 2013 but he did not sign).

Biggio’s pre-pitch setup is nothing like his father’s. His exaggerated bat wiggle calms just prior to the pitch as he lowers his hands and loads up his wide base.

By dropping his hands from above his head to ear-level at the time of the pitch (and lower as he begins his swing turn), Biggio sets up a very nice swing plane that should consistently produce solid contact. His raw power is unlikely to develop into significant home run totals, but it’s conceivable that Biggio becomes an extra-base machine given his ability to work himself into hitter’s counts.

Athletically, Biggio has above-average speed and should be an efficient base runner through the minors. With a high on-base percentage, he could steal 15-20 bases in a full season with a high success rate.

Defensively, Biggio won the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove award at Notre Dame in 2015 and should stick at second base. He looks slightly bigger than his listed size, but moves well and his glove will not inhibit his climb up the ladder.

Right down the list, the boxes continue to check off for Biggio. Some evaluators still view him as a player without enough dominant traits to be an impactful MLB player, however, fitting him into the common stereotype of “solid college player with quadruple-A potential”.

An optimist would suggest that this means Biggio is close, and may only need to develop one tool beyond expectations to be a legitimate piece for an organization. Plate approach and fundamentals are not the sexiest prospect traits, but they get the job done. Frankly, Biggio could spend his minor-league career ranked far too low on prospect lists while younger, more volatile prospect stocks come and go ahead of him.

Biggio turns 22 in early April, and should begin to move quickly in 2017. After playing just nine games in Lansing last year, it’s possible that he opens the season there and eventually sees time in high-A Dunedin.

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