The MLB network has been releasing top 10 lists this week, and it has me wondering how Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette fare against other MLB keystones.
The Blue Jays have a very exciting 2020 season ahead of them, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the talent of their middle infield.
A year ago the Blue Jays started Freddy Galvis at shortstop and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at second base on Opening Day, but things have changed quite a bit since then. Galvis was traded to Cincinnati last summer. and Gurriel Jr. was moved to left field after some early-2019 struggles. And of course, the more significant reason is the arrival of both Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, who look ready to help lead the next generation of this team.
Last week the MLB Network put out a series of tweets and Top 10 lists, which is something they do pretty much every year. As I looked at them on the weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder how Bichette and Biggio stack up against the rest of the league for players at their position. It’s a little difficult given the size of their sample sizes from 2019 (Bichette played 46 games, and Biggio played in 100), but let’s have a look anyway.
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Starting with Biggio, the 24-year-old impressed on many different levels, slashing .234/.364/.429 with 16 home runs, 17 doubles, and went 14-14 in stolen base attempts. Overall he was worth 2.8 bWAR, and those numbers have him fairly high on the list, even with missing more than two months of MLB action in 2019.
According to a tweet from Rays’ writer Marc Tompkin on Sunday, they have Biggio ranked #8 among second baseman across both leagues, which is an impressive status to have already earned. Ahead of Biggio are notable second baseman like Ketel Marte (ARI), D.J. LeMathieu (NYY), Jose Altuve (HOU), Ozzie Albies (ATL), Brandon Lowe (TB), Keston Hiura (MIL), and Mike Moustakas (CIN), with Kolton Wong (STL) and Luis Arraez (MIN) rounding out the top ten. He’s got some pretty serious competition above him, but with another season of development it’s certainly possible he could move up.
As for Bichette, it would appear that the MLB Network hasn’t seen enough of him to truly consider him for their rankings. Instead of looking at the Top 10 for shortstops, they put out a tweet the other day asking, “Who is the top dog?” and provided a list of 26 shortstops across the league. Oddly enough, they didn’t even list Bichette.
Does that there are 26 shortstops in the big leagues that are better than Bichette? Hardly. The 21-year-old took the league by storm, slashing an impressive .311/.358/.571 with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, and an impressive 2.1 bWAR in just those 46 games. Had it not been for an early-season injury, Bichette likely could have been promoted earlier, and those counting stats may have been even more impressive.
Looking at the list, one thing that stands out is that Major League Baseball is in a very good place right now when it comes to shortstops. With stars like Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, and Javier Baez at the top, and another group coming for them fast that includes Fernando Tatis Jr., Tim Anderson, Jorge Polanco, and more. That said, there are names like Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell, and even Galvis and others that I would already put Bichette ahead of. Would I put him in the top 10? Not yet, but a top 20 ranking would be more than fair at this stage, and another year will likely see him shoot up the list.
As for how they compare to the rest of the league as a unit, well I’ll leave that for another day, but again, it’s tough to quantify it with less than a full season for each of the young Blue Jays. That said, I imagine that a year from now, instead of talking about how they’ll have one of the best keystones in baseball someday, we’ll be talking about how much fun it is for the Blue Jays to have the pair now, and