Blue Jays: Updating the lineup with Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Cavan Biggio #26 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Cavan Biggio #26 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Now that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Cavan Biggio have joined the Blue Jays in the big leagues, what will the lineup look like with the new additions?

It’s an exciting day for Blue Jays fans as we’ll get the see the big league debut of Cavan Biggio, and the return of a talented utility man in Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

The duo are expected to be called up later today in advance of the first game against the San Diego Padres of a three-game set. The Blue Jays elected to send down Billy McKinney and Richard Urena in order to make room on the roster, and it’ll be interesting to see how Charlie Montoyo uses his new players going forward.

You have to think they wouldn’t have been promoted if they weren’t going to play with regularity, especially in Biggio’s case, so Montoyo will find a way to get them both in the lineup the majority of the time. Fortunately, each of them has quite a bit of positional flexibility, which should make the skipper’s job a little easier. Gurriel Jr. has been used at second base, shortstop, first base, and has been back in the outfield in Triple-A. Biggio has played a lot of second and third base, as well as having a lot of experience at first, and adding the outfield to his repertoire more recently as well.

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Their defence isn’t why they’ve arrived though, and it should be very interesting to see how the batting order rolls out with the new weapons. Most rookies are started lower in the order, and I imagine that will be the case for Biggio as well. Even Vladimir Guerrero Jr. started as the number five hitter before moving up to second in the lineup, and he’s a special case.

Gurriel Jr. could be used a little differently, especially because he’s had success at the plate in the big leagues before. He wasn’t sent down to Buffalo for his bat either, as it was more of a case of the “yips” and needing to rebuild his confidence than anything. My guess is he’ll get some starts at second base and possibly at shortstop as well, but also that he’ll see some time in left field. He made six starts with Buffalo to shake off some of the rust from a position he used to be a lot more familiar with, and hopefully that will be enough for the athletic defender.

As for Biggio, he has the vast majority of his experience in the infield as well, but he worked on playing the outfield during the Arizona Fall League last year, and has made five starts out there with the Bisons. He appeared in left field for one game, and then in right field in four more starts. It’s a work in progress, but he’s shown a natural ability to handle the position so far.

There are two configurations that jump out at me right away if I’m Montoyo, but a lot will depend on how his new pieces handle playing in the outfield, if that is indeed the plan. I imagine they’ll both move around a bit, but on days where they handle the corners, it could look something like this:

Or maybe the new skipper goes with something like this:

I don’t expect that Montoyo will stick with one lineup, nor do I expect both of the new call-ups to become regular outfielders, but they do make for intriguing options. We have to see them perform of course, but already the lineup feels deeper, even if you swap out Sogard for Davis and move Biggio or Gurriel Jr. to the infield, or if Drury and his hot bat occupy one of the nine spots.

My assumption is Gurriel Jr. will spend more time in the outfield than Biggio, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point. Either way, Sogard and Drury are likely to lose the most playing time of anyone currently on the big league roster. That said, Drury has been playing more in the outfield lately which should help his case, especially with McKinney being sent down as well.

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However it shakes out, Charlie Montoyo suddenly has a lot more weapons at his disposal, and it makes for an interesting Blue Jays lineup. It should be fun to see what they can do, starting later today against the Padres.

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