After the Toronto Blue Jays lost 8-2 to the Boston Red Sox in an afternoon match in Toronto today, Shi Davidi broke the news that the Jays were going to call up versatile players Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. on Friday.
Biggio, 24, was a fifth round pick of the Blue Jays in 2016 out of Notre Dame and had an unspectacular start to his minor league career, hitting .282/.382/.366 in Vancouver before hitting .233/.342/.363 in Dunedin in 2017. But Biggio revamped his swing, generating more loft and he took the Eastern League by storm in 2018, winning the league’s MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, with a .252/.388/.499 slash line, hitting 23 doubles, five triples and 26 home runs while also walking 100 times.
This season, in 41 games in Buffalo, Biggio has hit .306/.440/.507 with seven doubles, a triple and six home runs while walking 32 times and striking out only 28 times this year. That gives him a career-high 19.0% walk rate in 2019. And while the offensive numbers may be slightly inflated due to the International League using major league balls (and seeing a home-run spike because of it), the walk rate being higher than ever is a great indicator that he’ll be able to control the strike zone in the major leagues.
Biggio has already played first base, second base, third base, left field and right field for the Bisons and could very well get some time in the outfield or at second for Toronto.
Gurriel makes his return to Toronto where he may very well play all over the field. In 13 games with Toronto early in the season, Gurriel hit .175/.250/.275 but went on a tear with Buffalo, hitting .274/.301/.479 with 12 doubles and four home runs in 29 games in Triple-A. Gurriel has also spent a lot of time around the diamond, playing 12 games at second base, six at shortstop and six in left field. This isn’t the first time that Gurriel has played the outfield as he played 40 games in left in the 2015-16 season of the Cuban National Series.
My only concern with Gurriel is that he’s been slumping in the month of May. Since the calendar turned, he has only hit .191/.211/.279 with one walk and 13 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances.
Is this the Blue Jays moving closer to the revamp of the lineup as Biggio gets his first chance at the major leagues? I don’t foresee a call up of Bo Bichette after he returns from his broken hand just yet. With Freddy Galvis playing every day and with Eric Sogard still a starter for Toronto, Bichette has plenty of time to heal and develop, getting in everyday at bats for the rest of the season. The pitching, too, has been a little bit suspect in the minor leagues although some reinforcements are on their way.
Getting Biggio some big league time this season will help season him a bit for next season and with the Jays having Rowdy Tellez and Vladimir Guerrero starting to hit well, adding Biggio to the mix to see if he can hack it at the highest level will only make the Jays even more interesting to watch. Bringing Gurriel back to see how he responds is also not a bad thing.
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