Toronto Blue Jays prospects Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. both received votes for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, with Biggio garnering more votes than his third base counterpart.
At the end of the season (before postseason begins), two eligible journalists of the Baseball Writer’s of America Association from each MLB city submit their top three picks for who they believe should win the A.L. Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award. It is a point based system where a first place vote receives five points, second place receives three points, and third place receives one. The Houston Astros prospect Yordan Alvarez took home top honours this season, receiving a unanimous 30 votes for 1st place.
Cavan Biggio was the highest ranking Blue Jays prospect, receiving two 2nd place votes and one 3rd place vote for a total of seven points.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be next and the last Blue Jays prospect on the list, receiving one 2nd place vote and two 3rd place votes for a total of five points.
This comes as a bit of surprise, as the highly-touted Vladito was a betting favourite at the beginning of the season to bring home the ROY award. The former #1 ranked prospect did have his struggles early on this season, but ultimately finished with a respected slash line of .272/.339/.433, as well as 15 home runs, 69 RBI’s, and 26 doubles. While he did not crank out a bajillion home runs like Blue Jays fans were hoping for, he did produce at the plate for a young prospect still learning the ropes in the big leagues.
The one caveat on Guerrero Jr’s rookie season resume was his defence. While he did make some outstanding plays on the hot corner, as well as some powerful throws across the diamond, he did create some errors on ground balls that should have been routine for a major league third baseman. He would finish the season with a .936% fielding percentage, and would tie for second place for the most errors for third baseman in the MLB with 17.
This area will need to be worked upon this off-season and moving forward, unless the organization decides to move him to a 1B/DH role like some writers and fans (including myself) are predicting in the future.
Cavan Biggio was an interesting story for the rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays this season. Son of former MLB player Craig Biggio, Cavan was called up to the team in mid-May and would slot right in at second base, taking over for the injured Devon Travis and the ‘struggling at second base’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Biggio would have a pretty successful rookie season, his eye at the plate being the key focal points showcasing how talented he truly is.
The Notre Dame product would spend the majority of his time at second base, but also played some games at 1st base, as well as in the outfield in right field. While he didn’t look super confident as an outfielder, it was his play at second base that truly stood out. He was able to make consistent plays and turn double plays with ease that made fans feel better when the ball was hit out his way.
He would finish the season with a .989 fielding percentage at second base (.988 for all positions over the season), and would commit only five errors in just 101 games. His defence was rated at -2.7 by Fangraphs for the 2019 season, but with some more time spent on the field moving forward, he seems like a legitimate option to keep turning double plays with Bichette moving forward, turning into an above-average fielder at the MLB level.
Cavan Biggio would finish the season with a .234/.364/.429 slash line to go along with 16 home runs, 48 RBI, and an impressive 71 walks. His eye at the plate was his most impressive quality, which is why he had would finish the season leading all rookies in walks and would hit for the cycle as a rookie.
While the batting average could stand to be improved upon, as well as the number of times he struck out (123), Biggio’s rookie season was quite impressive considering the hype behind prospects like Guerrero Jr. and Bichette heading into the 2019 season.
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In the long run, will anyone remember who came in second place or third place in the 2019 ROY Award? Not really, mostly because not every ROY winner turns out to be a sure fire Hall of Famer. A player isn’t defined by their rookie season alone and the potential behind many of the Blue Jays prospects has yet to be fully defined.
There is tons of upside for players like Guerrero Jr. and Biggio, who performed quite well in their rookie seasons for a fanbase that didn’t really have a lot to cheer for. There are obvious areas where these players, as well as the other Blue Jays prospects, will need to improve upon heading into their sophomore seasons, but the base core is starting to take shape during the rebuild, which is exactly what management set out to accomplish during this process.
Follow this with a supporting cast of other talented prospects with a dash of veteran presence in Randal Grichuk and Ken Giles (before he most likely gets traded), and the Toronto Blue Jays look to be setting themselves up nicely for the future.
The rocky waves of the rebuild will most likely hurt for the next few seasons while the Blue Jays prospects continue to find their groove, but the end goal of reaching the postseason seems to be drawing closer and closer when looking towards the end of the rebuilding horizon.