Joe Biagini Was Great for the Toronto Blue Jays, or Mark Melancon on My Mind
Joe Biagini pitched two shutout innings in a losing cause to the Tribe today, and it finally made me take full notice of just what a great rookie season he’s had for the Blue Jays after they claimed him in the Rule 5 draft from the San Francisco Giants.
I had written up Biagini before about his great start at AA Richmond in late May of last year. I remember noting in my own mind, at least, that the Jays had claimed him in the Rule 5 draft, but apparently didn’t think it was worth writing about. I also seem to recall noting that he had made the team out of Spring Training and that he was off to a good start.
Then I forgot about him. As I had written in May 2015, Biagini’s final numbers in AA that year essentially matched his numbers at the time I wrote about him. Biagini finished the year with a 2.42 ERA in 130.1 innings pitched. However, he struck out only 84 batters, a sharp drop down from previous years to a 5.8 strikeout rate.
Figuring out that Biagini might be much better in relief was either a based on scouting or an educated guess. He struck out 62 in 67.2 IP major league innings, an 8.4 rate, which is fine for a top set-up reliever.
One thing I hadn’t taken into account from his numbers is his very low home run rate, which at 0.5 is terrific. His ability to keep from giving up the long-ball really helped him this year.
I certainly wish the best for Biagini going forward, particularly since he didn’t necessarily have a role in the Giants’ pen this year, which already had lots of relievers as good Biagini. What killed them was not having someone who could consistently pitch the 9th inning.
So, the Giants are reported to be interested in Mark Melancon as the least expensive of the big three free agent relievers available this Winter. Well, the Giants can certainly afford him. I could see him getting five years and $50+ million, given how bad management probably wants a top closer.