Astros legends Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio have both of their names firmly planted within MLB’s highest honor of the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps it’s time to determine where their role in the Astros organization might lie in the years to come.
Common practice among former MLB players is the propensity to stay within the game once their careers end. Whether that be coaching, scouting, or broadcasting, it doesn’t matter. There are numerous avenues that former professional ballplayers may pursue. Former Astro, and current Detroit Tigers manager, Brad Ausmus immediately comes to mind.
And it was intriguing to learn that Biggio was a big influence in the career of Carlos Beltran during his playing days. Perhaps Biggio and Bagwell can once again take their turn in helping the major league club with their wealth of baseball knowledge.
They already have experience as such. Biggio in fact has already seen his hand at coaching with a recent stint in a minor league capacity. And Bagwell has hung around the organization in a variety of roles such as a consultant and hitting coach. No matter the contribution though, both have an opportunity to make an notable impact on this current group of Astros.
In what capacity should they be involved?
In Biggio’s case, it’s common knowledge he had 3,000 cumulative hits along with other numerous accolades. But he also had an impact in terms of intangibles like hitting or the game-to-game approach that many haven’t attained.
Clearly taking on a mentor role in his later years as proven in the Beltran’s article, Biggio had a natural sixth sense about pitcher’s tendencies. This included when to expect certain pitches at exact times, how to take the “bean” for a walk, or when to steal a base.
Don’t forget Biggio spent his earlier years as a catcher, who seem to have a better understanding at the pitch-by-pitch structure of a baseball game. Notable catchers who have morphed into managers are Ausmus, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox.
Biggio’s overall impact can be best utilized, in this writer’s opinion, as a hitting coach to help the young Astros core not only with the fundamentals of hitting. And also with learning pitcher’s tendencies and general knowledge in taking advantage of every at-bat with situational scenarios.
Where does Bagwell fit?
Bagwell brought a unique brand of baseball to the game. His combination of power, fielding prowess, and overall awareness on the field was almost unparalleled. And don’t forget about the infamous crouch in his bathing stance.
As easy it is to group him in to the PED club of the mid-90s, he never was implicated and still showcased incredible numbers over his 15-year career.
What a lot of folks forget is Bagwell’s prowess on the field as a Gold Glove first baseman. Originally groomed as a third baseman in the Boston Red Sox organization, Bagwell quickly learned the intricacies of first base quite well as evidenced by his lone MVP award and four All-Star game appearances.
Needless to say, his crouch was unorthodox. And his fielding abilities left many impressed. Bagwell’s understanding of a hitter’s inclinations and the entailing fielding situations they cause would give him a leg up as a bench coach.
However, Bagwell has shown no inclination of being a full-time coach since his short stint as the Astros hitting coach in 2010. Never say never, though. Maybe Bagwell will eventually get that itch again?
Through his understanding and mastery of the infield with his right-side-mate Biggio, they would undoubtedly give the Astros a boost in their improving fielding percentage.
All in all, Biggio and Bagwell put Houston baseball on the map as the only members to sport the Astros hat. It could be time for them to give back on the field as coaches to help lead this franchise to the promise land.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**