With the season currently in limbo, now is the perfect time to produce some ideas on how the Toronto Blue Jays could tinker with their batting order to try and produce more runs when the season does hopefully start-up sometime in 2020.
The 2020 season has not been one that many Blue Jays fans were hoping it would go. The COVID-19 virus has ravaged professional sports across the globe and while the MLB season may begin at some point in the next few months, fans are currently subjected to Sportsnet’s older broadcasts and winning the World Series on MLB the Show.
One thing I like to do is think outside the box on how the Toronto Blue Jays can become better, and in this case, score more runs earlier in the game (first inning to be exact).
In particular, I am looking at ideas that would help gain the early momentum whether at home or on the road by putting up a run or two straight out of the gate. I am a big believer in gaining the upper hand as quickly as possible (as most fans usually are) and a strong 1st inning can set a strong pace for the rest of the game.
In this specific instance, the scenario I am thinking of involves switching around the top of the batting order by moving second baseman Cavan Biggio to the top of the order.
While this doesn’t seem like the biggest change (or maybe too big of a change depending on who you ask), let me explain why this could potentially produce a few more runs in the first inning of the game.
Biggio led the team in OBP percentage (.364) and steals (14) last season for the Blue Jays, and led all rookies in the MLB last season in walks (71). While his batting average was on the lower side at .234, Biggio does have a great eye at the plate and will hopefully be able to add some points to his average in his sophomore season.
The reason I suggest moving Biggio into the top of the order is mainly because of his ability to get on base, whether it be by base on balls or a ball in play. He has some pop in the bat that can produce extra-base hits on occasion and above-average speed to steal second base if need be, paving the way for the Blue Jays heavy hitters to come in and puts some runs on the board early in the game.
Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rowdy Tellez/Travis Shaw, and Randal Grichuk would then follow in the order (not in that specific order, just an example), all of whom have average to above-average power at the plate.
By Biggio batting at the top of the lineup, if Bichette or Guerrero Jr. was to hit for extra bases in the 2-3-4 holes, that leaves an additional player on base with the added benefit of having Biggio in scoring position or back in the dugout with a run on the board.
Some examples of why I think this scenario has some benefits:
- Biggio walks and gets on 1st, Bichette hits for extra bases and Biggio scores from first. This would follow with one of the other Blue Jays power hitters being able to come to the plate with 0 outs and a man in scoring position
- Biggio gets on 1st, steals second, and now Bichette has a man in scoring position with 0 outs. The 2-3-4 hitters follow with the potential to bring Biggio in or potentially add more runs with a single or extra-base hit.
- Biggio hits a home run and is followed by the teams predominantly bigger power threats with the ability to put additional runs on the board.
These are only 3 examples, but the possibilities are endless when Biggio, one of the faster players on the team with above-average plate discipline starts the game at the top of the order.
While this idea may sound good on paper, it is obviously not without its flaws.
Biggio led off the Blue Jays batting order 7 times last season, accumulating a 0-6 streak with two strikeouts and 1 walk when he was the first batter out of the gate. Not exactly exuding confidence in my potential scenario if he was to be handed the ropes to leading off most of the games this season.
Also, there really is no way to prove that by Biggio getting on base to begin the game, that he will automatically score. The following three players could strike out or potentially hit into a double play, failing to gain the momentum this idea was going for in the first play. Hell, Biggio could even get caught at home when he should have stayed at third.
This is only one of the many potential scenarios that the Blue Jays could use to bolster more runs in the first inning of the game, and could always resort to putting Bichette back at the top of the order if Biggio cannot handle the task at hand.
I think we can all agree that scoring runs in the first inning is a great way to get momentum either on the road or at home.
If you had the chance, how would you shape the Toronto Blue Jays top of the order?