Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Season Preview: INF Cavan Biggio

Michael Fisher
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles - Game One / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Next up in our 2023 season preview series is second baseman-turned-utility player Cavan Biggio.

Previously:

Addison Barger (story link)

Anthony Bass (story link)

Chris Bassitt (story link)

José Berríos (story link)

Bo Bichette (story link)

Before we dive in, here's a refresher on the projection systems we're going to be taking a look at.

STEAMER

ZiPS

STEAMER: 318 PA, 59 H, 9 HR, 32 RBI, .220/.331/.373, 106 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

ZiPS: 421 PA, 80 H, 10 HR, 42 RBI, .225/.338/.371, 98 OPS+, 1.6 WAR

2022: 303 PA, 52 H, 6 HR, 24 RBI, .202/.318/.350, 97 wRC+, 92 OPS+, 1.3 WAR

Biggio, 27, has never managed to get a foothold as an everyday player through four seasons in the bigs. After a promising debut in 2019 and even playing most games in a solid 2020 pandemic-shortened campaign, various injuries and ailments, not to mention inconsistency in both performance and playing time, have hampered his progression.

STEAMER and ZiPS are giving Biggio a slight bump in production for the 2023 season, with ZiPS more optimistic that he will earn more playing time than in the previous two seasons. The projected 421 PA is closer to the 430 PA he made in 2019 when he collected 16 HR, 66 R and 48 RBI. ZiPS thinks he'll be close to as productive as that 2019 season with 42 RBI but with less power at only 10 HR. Both totals would be an improvement on 2022.

Biggio managed to get into 97 games in 2022, but 20 of those appearances came as either a pinch hitter or pinch runner. It looks like he'll be coming into 2023 as a utility man off the bench again, with both Witt Merrifield and Santiago Espinal likely ahead of him on the second base depth chart.

Both projections think Biggio can raise his batting average as well as his on-base and slugging percentages — albeit slightly. With the new shift restrictions in place for the 2023 season, that improvement might happen anyway. In 2022, he hit 41 ground balls into the shift, collecting six hits for a .146 average. It would only take five more balls to get through to raise his .202 average above .220, in line with the projections.

If Biggio wants to get his game back on track, he'll have to stay healthy and available to take advantage of any opportunities. He'll also have to get back to being more selective and using his good eye at the plate to draw more walks and cut down on swinging at pitches out of the zone.

Year

AVG

OBP

O-Swing%

BB%

K%

2019

.234

.364

15.8%

16.5%

28.6%

2020

.250

.375

16.3%

15.5%

23.0%

2021

.224

.322

22.2%

12.6%

26.5%

2022

.202

.318

20.7%

12.5%

28.1%

Biggio's O-Swing rate (percentage of pitches swung at outside the zone) has been higher the last two seasons, while his walk rate has dropped and his strikeout rate has gone back up after an improved 2020. While his O-Swing rate is better than the league average (32.6%), as is his walk rate (8.2%), to succeed, he needs to be more particular about the pitches he swings at and needs to strike out less often.

2023 feels like a make-or-break year for the once-promising prospect, so hopefully, Jays fans will see Biggio get the playing time to match and exceed the projections. At the very least, he should be a useful bench piece for a contending Jays team.

dark. Next. Blue Jays sign first baseman Brandon Belt

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