Per ESPN’s player rater, Cavan Biggio was the number five second baseman, trailing only Whit Merrifield , DJ LeMahieu , Brandon Lowe and Dylan Moore . Across 59 games, he slashed .250/.375/.432, hit eight home runs, scored 41 times, drove in 28 runs and was a perfect 8-for-8 on the base paths. Biggio is going to be a part of a loaded Toronto offense, which should bode well for his counting stats, and his ability to produce in multiple categories makes him an intriguing fantasy asset for 2021. He isn’t cheap by any means, but is he worth it in fantasy baseball this season? Let's examine.
Between 2019 and 2020, we basically have a full season of work for Biggio. In 159 career games at the major league level, he’s slashed .240/.368/.420 with 24 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 107 runs scored and 76 RBI. To put that into comparison, think of 2019 Tommy Pham with a lower batting average and slugging percentage. Regardless, very solid numbers. Furthermore, he’s yet to be thrown out attempting to steal a base, as he’s a perfect 20-for-20 through his first two big league seasons.
Biggio turns just 26 years young in April, and while he essentially has one full season under his belt, some of the underlying numbers suggest further improvement is on the way for the legacy infielder. Take a look at the graph below, courtesy of Fangraphs.
What do we take from here? Well, as the 2019 season progressed, the overall trend line for his contact rate was down, but in 2020, that trend line is up. His contact rate for 2020 ended at 78.3 percent, which is a nice improvement upon his 2019 campaign. Additionally, his O-Swing% was much more consistent in 2020 compared to 2019, and his swinging strike rate hung at or below league average for the majority of the season. Remaining consistent in these two areas will help keep his strikeout rate at a respectable level, and any further increases in overall contact rate will bode well for his development.
Biggio hit lefties well last year, and considerably better than righties. His batting average was 70 points higher against southpaws, and his OPS was 150 points higher. Now, he isn’t going to wow anyone in the Statcast game, but there’s enough pop in that bat to take advantage of the new digs. Now, he did trade elevation and launch angle for batting average against offspeed pitches in 2020, and his average exit velocity dropped against each of the three major pitch types (fastballs, breaking stuff, offspeed offerings).
If there’s any upside to this graphic, it’s that the numbers rebounded a little bit towards the end of the year, minus offspeed pitches. Overall, I don’t like the reduction in barrel rate, exit velocity and launch angle compared to 2019, but his AB/HR wasn’t too far off, only about five or so at-bats. He’s never been a big time Statcast junkie, but didn’t stop him from hitting 32 home runs across 587 at-bats at the AA and AAA levels. If he ends up about in the middle of 2019 and 2020, he’ll hit a home run every 25 at-bats, and if he gets 600 at-bats in 2021, we’re looking at 24 home runs for Biggio in 2021. That is easily attainable.
Biggio has a lot of fantasy appeal this season and there’s still some untapped potential for the young infielder. If your league requires 10 games for eligibility, you can play him at second base, third base or outfield. He’s a 20/20 candidate this season, but has 25/20 upside, especially if he can make more impactful contact at an elevated launch angle. Additionally, Toronto is going all in on the offensive side of the ball, so Biggio’s counting stats, notably runs and RBI, could be more inflated.
In 15-team setups, he’ll cost you a fourth round pick, but interestingly enough, he’s slipping a bit in drafts. Take a look at this per NFBC data.
If he’s going to slip a little bit in drafts and I can get a potential 25/20 guy with multi-positional eligibility in the fifth round, I’m going to pounce on that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Biggio is an easy player to hype this year and is an intricate piece of the Toronto offense for fantasy purposes.