Blue Jays: Why Cavan Biggio may be the leadoff hitter of the future

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 17: Cavan Biggio #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run in the first inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 17: Cavan Biggio #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run in the first inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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He doesn’t profile as the prototypical leadoff type, but Cavan Biggio’s ability to see pitches and get on base could make him an excellent leadoff hitter.

If the 2019 season isn’t about winning, then it had better be about figuring out how to get there in the future.

We have witnessed the Blue Jays trying to work on that very thing by giving their young and inexperienced players plenty of playing time season, which will hopefully help the front office and coaching staff sort out a few pieces that could stick for the long haul. With an impressive treasure trove of MiLB assets, it’s a matter of figuring out which players can handle the rigours of the big leagues, and if they can, how to go about helping them to thrive.

One of the players that looks like he’s going to stick, and maybe even become a star, is Cavan Biggio, who was promoted to the big leagues on May 23rd and has been a staple of the Blue Jays’ lineup ever since. He’s already made appearances second base, first base, and both corner outfield spots, and I would expect that will continue until he either settles in somewhere for good, or perhaps the Blue Jays decide to use him as a bit of a utility-man going forward.

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What the Blue Jays will also have to figure out is how best to use him in their lineup, and there are several options for the talented hitter. It would make sense if he were in the middle of the order down the line, as he’s shown an ability to hit for power with 26 bombs in Double-A last season, and his lefty swing would fit well after Vladimir Guerrero Jr‘s right-handed bat in the lineup.

However, the best place for Biggio may actually be higher up in the batting order, and maybe even at the very top.

I’ll admit that I’ve always thought of Bo Bichette as the leadoff hitter of the future in Toronto, even if thinking that way before he’s even made his debut is premature. However, the more I watch Biggio’s approach at the plate and the more that baseball evolves, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the 24-year-old who is given that task a lot more this season and in the future. Eric Sogard has been the primary leadoff guy lately, but we all know that’s not going to last forever.

Nick Ashbourne over at Yahoo Sports did an excellent piece on Biggio a couple of days ago that highlighted his plate discipline, and how he’s already producing at an elite rate in that category. Ashbourne pointed out that his chase rate was just 11.9% as of June 18th, which is an absurdly low number, especially when compared to the MLB average of 30%. His raw swing rate was also just 32.9%, better than all but four big-league hitters who have more than 50 trips to the plate.

He’s not going to be a speedster at the top of the lineup, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be plodding along either. He managed to swipe 20 bags in 28 attempts in Double-A last season, and he’s picked up two since joining the Blue Jays as well. More importantly though, he should be on base a lot, and when the rest of the lineup of the future should feature guys like Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Rowdy Tellez and more, that’s a very good thing.

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As we watch teams take different approaches with the top of the order, like Kyle Schwarber becoming a fixture there with the Cubs lately, the possibilities certainly open up for Charlie Montoyo, both now and later on when these young players are more experienced. We’ll see how it all works out in the end, but it would appear the Blue Jays should have a few decent choices to lead things off, and Biggio might just be the best of ’em.

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