Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio’s greatest future value is at second base

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 27: Cavan Biggio #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays turns a double play over Austin Meadows #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 27, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 27: Cavan Biggio #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays turns a double play over Austin Meadows #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 27, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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Cavan Biggio should have a bright MLB career regardless of where he plays on defence, but the Blue Jays would be well served to keep him at second base for as long as they can.

The Blue Jays had a lot of successful rookie debuts in 2019, and one of the best quietly came from Cavan Biggio, who was called up on May 24th to play his first game against the San Diego Padres.

It was a mostly successful rookie season for the son of a Hall of Famer, as he posted a slash line of .234/.364/.429 with 16 home runs, 18 doubles, 48 RBI, and a perfect 14-14 in stolen base attempts. Despite having a rough batting average at times, his keen eye helped him to keep up a solid on-base percentage, which was very useful in the second spot in the order.

The 24-year-old seemed to hit his stride in the season’s final month, batting .300/.424/.562 in 99 plate appearances, picking up four home runs and five doubles to close out the year. That has to be seen as encouraging sign going into the 2020 campaign, and Biggio should be entrenched as the second baseman to start the 2020 season.

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That said, there’s a chance that Biggio could move around defensively as the Blue Jays continue this rebuild, and personally, I hope that doesn’t end up happening. That’s because I believe that Biggio will bring the most value to the table as long as he’s playing in the keystone. The reality is, not many second basemen produce like he’s capable of, and it could be a big advantage.

Whether or not he stays at second for the long-term will depend on a few factors. The most significant will likely be whether Vladimir Guerrero Jr. can hold on to his position at third base, or if he’ll eventually have to be moved to first at some point in the next few years. For the time being the Blue Jays have expressed their commitment to keeping him at the hot corner, but he’ll need to improve on his defensive performance last year in order to stick. That said, he’s already popped up on social media while working out to prepare for next season, so that’s a great sign.

If Guerrero Jr. eventually has to move to first, it could mean a few things. The Blue Jays could view someone like Jordan Groshans as the eventual solution at third, but Biggio is also capable of making the switch if it’s needed. The club might be reluctant to move him away from second base, but that decision could be made easier if other prospects like Santiago Espinal, or eventually other talents further down the minor league ladder push for a spot on the 25-man roster.

It’s definitely helpful that Biggio is capable of playing at second, third, first, or even in the corner outfield positions, but as I said above, I really believe the Blue Jays could be at their greatest advantage if he can stick at second base. Take this season for example, he doesn’t appear on Fangraphs’ top WAR leaders for second basemen, which I assume is because he didn’t quite play enough games. However, if he had, his 2.4 fWAR would have had in 11th in all of baseball, or sixth among AL leaders. That’s as a rookie who only played in 100 games.

His ability to get on base, provide power, and just an overall offensive contribution from second base isn’t a luxury that every team gets to enjoy. Sure, there are examples like Jose Altuve out there, but that’s the exception to the rule. Having a potential 3-4 win player at second base would be a big deal. I do believe that he can provide enough offence to fit elsewhere around the diamond. However, in that case he arguably becomes an average offensive contributor for his position, depending on how high his ceiling eventually turns out to be of course.

You could argue that he’ll need to improve defensively at second base, and that would be a valid point. Fangraphs has him rated at -2.7 for the 2019 season, and he was -0.2 according to baseball reference as well. However, with a little more experience I’m confident that he can be at least a serviceable defensive option there, if not eventually an above-average defender.

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For now we have no reason to believe the Blue Jays will move him around, but as this rebuild continues and more prospects arrive at the highest level, I hope they’re able to keep him right where he is. To me, that’s where he’ll bring the Blue Jays the biggest advantage.

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