Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio leaning on Eric Sogard’s experience

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: Eric Sogard #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by Teoscar Hernandez #37 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during MLB game action against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: Eric Sogard #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by Teoscar Hernandez #37 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during MLB game action against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Jays Journal had the opportunity to chat with Eric Sogard about life, his 2019 season North of the border, and his embraced role as a mentor.

Any 24-year-old breaking into the big leagues needs someone to lean on, someone who’s been around the game and has been through the ups and downs that come with breaking into baseball’s highest level.

Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio is lucky enough to have a hall-of-famer and seven time All-Star just a phone call away, his dad Craig Biggio.

But sometimes at the ballpark it can be a little difficult to jump on the phone with Pops and that’s when he turns to 33-year-old veteran Eric Sogard who brings nine years of major league experience to the table and has played with four clubs that went on to play in the postseason.

The two infielders hit it off at Spring Training, quickly becoming throwing partners and good friends. Earlier in the season they spent some time together in Buffalo and the duo is together again after Biggio made his MLB debut on May 24th.

“I’m kind of the one he’s leaned to if he has anything to ask on or off the field and I’m certainly happy to help, and if I see something he doesn’t mind me letting him know as well, so it’s a good relationship,” explained Sogard prior to Friday night’s game in Denver.

Sogard is known as a utility man who can play anywhere on the infield aside from first, but the Arizona native’s true position is second base. Biggio was also drafted as a second baseman but the Blue Jays are trying to instil the same versatility into his game, having him play five different positions in Triple-A Buffalo before joining the Blue Jays.

The similarities in their roles on the defensive side have brought the pair together, but Biggo isn’t the only youngster who has impressed Sogard with the hunger to learn and improve their game.

"“This year’s been a little different for me in the way that I am the veteran on the team and these kids are great where they continue to ask questions and want to learn and get better every day,” added Sogard, also mentioning this was one of the reasons he chose Toronto during free agency."

“It actually kind of was a little bit of the younger crew and seeing that opportunity to be a veteran presence and be able to be an example for those guys, so that’s something that I kind of took into my decision.”

It’s clear the Blue Jays had the same thing in mind, acquiring Sogard’s services to mentor and aid in the development of their top prospects, guys like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Biggio and eventually Bo Bichette, all of whom play on the infield.

But the kids aren’t the only ones getting something out of this relationship considering Sogard is enjoying one of his finest big league seasons. Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Rockies, he was slashing .265/.351/.436 which ranks above the league-average, and he broke his career high in home runs just 15 games into the year.

It’s been a big year for Sogard with the Blue Jays and life has been good to him away from the field as well. His wife, Kaycee Sogard, gave birth to their third child in October and they just adopted a little girl last month, making it a family of six.

It’s not just Sogard’s experience and approach to the game that the Blue Jays want the young core to learn from. His mindset and character in all facets of life are an example guys like Biggio can look to.

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Often times when the camera focuses in on him during a broadcast, you’ll find him with a big smile on his face, just beneath his trademark glasses that earned him the nickname, “Nerd Power.” Baseball is fun and Sogard likes to keep it that way.

“I think when I was out that full year in 2016 with surgery, it kind of put perspective on this game that ‘hey, you never know how long you will be playing this game’ so don’t stress it. Just go out and have some fun and I really think that’s helped me.”

Despite the Blue Jays being in a rebuild, the fun times have been there for Sogard this season. He’s surrounded by some of the brightest young stars coming into the league, including baseball’s top prospect.

As Biggio and the rest of the crew get older and gain more experience, they will one day likely find themselves in a similar role to Sogard and will look back on how his presence helped them settle into big leagues.

And as for the Blue Jays, Sogard knows they are in good hands with the young ones he’s had the pleasure of nurturing.

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“The young talent here is extremely impressive and it’s exciting to watch,” continued Sogard.

“[Biggio] plays the game the right way and he’s always out there trying to learn something new every day and get better and that’s kind of how it’s been for all the younger guys. I think this organization has some bright things to come.”

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