Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker believes Joe Biagini has an excellent chance of pitching in the starting rotation at some point this season.
As the Toronto Blue Jays prepare for spring training, their rotation for the season is arguably already set. As it stands, the starting five is projected to consist of Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano.
However, the Blue Jays are well aware they are unlikely to receive the same kind of durability the rotation enjoyed in 2016. In total, their rotation going into opening day only missed 10 starts all year.
With this in mind, John Gibbons and his staff are preparing accordingly. Their plans will include stretching out Joe Biagini during spring training, in anticipation of him being in the starting rotation at some point during the 2017 season.
This may surprise some Blue Jays’ fans, given that Biagini worked exclusively out of the bullpen during his first season in the Majors. In total, he made 60 appearances, recording a 3.06 ERA, 62 strikouts and just 19 walks in 67.2 innings of action.
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However, Blue Jays’ pitching coach Pete Walker has confidence in the 26-year old’s ability to step into the starting rotation. Walker discussed the pitcher’s credentials with Bob McCown, on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
Walker said: “He’s a kid that has certainly started in the past. He’s got a starter’s mentality.
“He was exceptional out of the bullpen for us, but certainly he’s got a starter’s build and repertoire moving forward.”
In that respect, Biagini was a full-time starter during his last three seasons with the San Franciso Giants, albeit in the minor leagues. Regardless, he looked good when he was promoted to Double-A in 2015, pitching career-bests of 130.1 innings and a 2.42 ERA.
In terms of his pitching repertoire, the 2011 26th round draft pick has a variety of pitches at his disposal. However, his 95 mph fastball is his most effective weapon, in part because it produces considerably more groundballs compared to other pitchers.
As things stand, Biagini will begin the season in the bullpen. However, it only takes one mishap for things to change.
Walker said: “Right now he’s penciled in to that bullpen and barring anything unforeseen in spring training – if a starter does happen to go down for a couple of weeks, something happens, you got the fingernails, a blister — he’s certainly a guy that we feel could potentially step in.”
Overall, the Blue Jays firmly believe the Redwood City, California native will be comfortable and effective, regardless of what role he undertakes. The chances are he will get the opportunity to prove this as the 2017 season progresses.
What’s your take on Biagini. Do you think he will join the Jays’ rotation sometime during 2017? In general, what kind of production are you expecting from him this coming season? Share your thoughts in the comments section.