After four starts this season, Joe Biagini has yet to impress and Blue Jay fans are becoming wary.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about Marcus Stroman and suggested that Biagini should come in as a short-term replacement in Stroman’s absence. That’s exactly what happened.
It seemed like a good idea at the time considering Biagini was a solid starter last year through 18 starts. Through those starts, Biagini amassed a 5.34 ERA, which is nothing flashy, but more serviceable. If Biagini continued to play like he did last year the Jays would have given him 1, maybe even 2 wins in his first four games this season.
Unfortunately, he is not playing like he did last year. He’s averaging 4.2 innings a start as well as still pitching an average of 92 pitches per outing. Not to mention rocking a 7.71 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.
But why is he so bad?
Well, that is the beauty of statistics. We can really dig in and find out what is wrong with Joe.
Biagini is averaging 4.3 walks per game and his pitch charts tell you why. He has thrown 369 pitches so far this year and 73 of them are low, away and out of the zone to right-handed batters. That’s almost 20% of his pitches not hitting the strike zone. But only in that corner. He has a total of 195 pitches out of the zone which makes just below 53% of his total pitches were balls.
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When Biagini does pitch strikes he is serving them up on a golden platter for batters. More than any of the other area in the zone he is pitching them over the middle of the plate. Going across the middle of the strike zone 19% of his pitches are the perfect height for batters and they are taking full advantage of this.
Batters this season have an average slash line of .329/.411/.494 against Biagini this year. He is getting lit up in his short outings.
What do we do with Joe?
It feels like many fans aren’t happy he’s starting, which makes sense, and they are calling for him to be put in the bullpen as a reliever again.
It feels like a lot of people forget that he did an alright job last year through his 18 starts so this move made sense for the time. But should we move him to the bullpen? Possibly. I believe that the Blue Jays’ backs are against the wall and they don’t have many options in terms of another starter.
The only other pitchers the Blue Jays could use would be either Ryan Borucki or Chris Rowley. They are both good pitchers down in Triple-A Buffalo and they do show some promise to come up at some point this year to start. Rowley struggled last year with the few starts he had with the team and Borucki has yet to see major league action.
There doesn’t appear to be a great pitcher on hand for the Jays but what the team needs is someone who can go 5-6 innings and keep them in the game with a fighting chance. And right now, Joe Biagini is not doing that.