We might be eagerly awaiting the arrival of super prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but Cavan Biggio may beat them both to the big leagues.
There’s no doubt that the Blue Jays could use some help with their offence right about now, and you can’t blame fans for looking ahead to a future that will include their top two prospects, who are both potentially game-changing hitters.
If you’re looking into the Blue Jays’ minor league for a reason to be optimistic about the future, the first thing you’re going to find is a whole lot of excitement around Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, and with good reason. Guerrero Jr. entered the season almost universally rated as the top baseball in baseball, and Bichette is a #10 prospect in his own right, and one who had a fantastic spring showing during Grapefruit League play.
If you’ve been following the team you likely know the story behind these two at the moment. Guerrero Jr. suffered a strained oblique during spring training, and it’s assumed that once he’s healthy and dialled in again at Triple-A that he’ll be called up to join the big league club. It’s less certain with Bichette, as he’s just now experiencing Triple-A for the first time, and the Blue Jays have repeatedly said they’d like to see him complete his minor league development at the next rung before a final promotion.
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As good and as close to the big leagues as the dynamic duo is, my guess is that Cavan Biggio beats both Vlad and Bo to ‘the Show’, and it might happen sooner than later.
Biggio has started his Triple-A season off on an absolute tear, going 6-12 in his first four games, adding two home runs, five walks, and striking out only once. The 2018 Eastern League MVP also had a strong spring, and there are a few reasons why he could be a candidate for a big league promotion before others, even including Vlad Guerrero Jr.
Biggio brings the added benefit of positional flexibility, as he made appearances at second base, third base, and even at first last year. He also worked on adding the outfield to his defensive repertoire during Fall League play, and made some appearances out there during the Grapefruit League season as well. As the Blue Jays search for answers throughout their lineup, he could be the right type of player to come in and play a little bit all over the place.
Like Bichette, Biggio is also experiencing Triple-A for the first time, but he has a little more “life maturity” (that’s a thing, right?) than the top two prospects, as he’ll turn 24 later this week. He’s only had three years of minor league baseball so far, but being four years older than the others helps his cause for an earlier promotion for a couple of reasons.
First, even if the Blue Jays do view him as a potentially elite prospect, and one that they might want to consider manipulating his service time, we’re almost at a point where that’s a moot issue anyway. Give it another week or so here and Biggio could get called up and still have seven years of service time in Toronto, which would take him through his age 30 season. With that in mind, there’s no reason to hold him back other than for development purposes.
I don’t know that this is going to happen right away, but it’s possible the Blue Jays may consider swapping Biggio out for another struggling young player like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Say they decide that Gurriel Jr. needs a breather in Buffalo to get his bat on track, Biggio would be arguably the easiest player to plug on to the roster in his place because of his positional flexibility. They don’t need the depth at shortstop as bad with both Freddy Galvis and Richard Urena on the roster either, which works in his favour. He could split time at second, fill in at third, likely look a little more comfortable at first than Gurriel Jr. or Alen Hanson, and even cover some innings in the outfield.
My assumption is that the Blue Jays will let him play in Buffalo for at least a few more weeks for his own long term good, but depending on how things are going in Toronto they may not have a choice but to do something to shake things up a little soon. If that’s the case, don’t be surprised if Biggio gets an opportunity a lot earlier than even he may have expected, and don’t be shocked if he’s ready for it either.
He might not be a future MVP at the highest level, but I think he’s going to be a very good ball player, and my guess is he’ll be among the first considered for a shot in the big leagues.