Cavan Biggio has broken out of his slump in a big way lately, and he’s also the latest example of the need for patience for these budding young stars.
The Blue Jays are as good as any team in baseball at hyping their young prospects and getting their fan base excited about the future. Over the last few years it hasn’t been that difficult with the talent that’s come through the pipeline, and the future looks legitimately bright in Toronto right now.
What we don’t do well as a fan base is have patience, and that can make a rebuild feel like it’s taking a really long time. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, I would argue that their rebuild is on track to be much shorter than I originally anticipated, and that’s because of the big steps taken by new big leaguers like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and several others.
Lumped in with that group as the core of the future in Toronto is Cavan Biggio, who debuted with the Blue Jays on May 24th against the San Diego Padres. It’s been a relatively successful first season for Biggio, but like most rookies when they reach the highest level, it’s come with it’s ups and downs.
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While his batting average peaked at just .257 on July 2nd, his on-base percentage has been very impressive even when he hasn’t been hitting, peaking at .379 on July 4th. His slash line tells a similar story right now as well, as he entered last night’s game with a .230/.361/.425 in 313 at-bats, which are certainly respectable numbers, especially when you add 14 home runs, 15 doubles, and 13 stolen bases.
As good as the season has been on the whole for the 24-year-old, there have been times this year that the fan base wondered aloud if he is ready for the big leagues, or if he should be considered part of the future core of this team. For example, he hit just .193 for the month of July and followed that up with a .220 batting average in August. The on-base percentage was always reasonable, sitting at .336 over those two months, but there were some red flags that had some folks a little concerned.
All he’s done this month is answer those questions by slashing .333/.469/.667 with two home runs, three doubles, two triples, and four stolen bases in 11 games. That obviously includes his cycle on Tuesday night against the Orioles, becoming just the third Blue Jay in franchise history to accomplish the feat. He also joined his father Craig Biggio in the club and they became just the second father-son duo to hit for a cycle. Needless to say, Biggio has turned things around, and entered last night with a 19 game on-base streak.
We’ve learned this lesson with Vlad Guerrero Jr., who has been a different hitter in the second half than he was before the All-Star break, and even Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who has shown flashes of All-Star potential now that he’s settled into left field. However, those two took some time before they adjusted to the big leagues, and we’re now seeing them playing on a different level. The same goes for Biggio now that he’s starting to settle in, and we’re seeing a more confident and productive player.
The reality is, not everybody starts their big league career like Bo Bichette did, and it usually takes some time before even the best prospects are ready to thrive in the big leagues. That’s what made this season so important, and why I expect this young Blue Jays lineup to take some big strides in 2020. They gained some valuable experience this season, and even if it was a little tough to sit through at times, I’m confident the payoff will be worth it.
Baseball may be evolving into a younger man’s game, but even the best prospects need some time to show who they really are. When it comes to Biggio and this young and developing core group, I think the Blue Jays are going to be in very good hands.