Joe Biagini is a part of the three-piece package the Astros picked up from Toronto in exchange for Derek Fisher. Who is this new addition to the bullpen?
Along with wanting to add a top tier starter to the Astros pitching staff, GM Jeff Luhnow was also shopping for relief pitchers to help shore up the bullpen. Both Joe Biagini and his teammate Aaron Sanchez were on Luhnow’s radar for some time now. “We’ve been interested in Sanchez for a long time and interested in Biagini for a long time,” Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Biagini is in his fourth season in the Major Leagues, all with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft and was in their Minor League system for four years before Toronto acquired him.
The Blue Jays started Biagini right up in the Big Leagues in 2016. He had a nice rookie season with Toronto appearing in 60 games and posting a 3.06 ERA and an ERA+ of 140. Biagini collected nine holds and one save that season. He had an impressive 0.4 HR/9IP ratio only surrendering three home runs in his 67.2 innings of work.
Toronto experimented with turning Biagini into a starter over the next two seasons without much success. He started in 22 games in 2017/18 and had a record of 2-15 with a 6.08 ERA as a starter. In 2018 he went back primarily pitching out of the bullpen, only starting four games out of his 50 appearances.
This season Biagini has been pitching solely out of the pen and the results have been much better. He currently has a 3.78 ERA in 50 outings with ten holds and one save. He seems to be much more of an asset as a reliever and his numbers back that up. He’s looking more like the successful pitcher of his rookie season when he also only pitched in relief.
He has been used primarily as a setup man for Toronto and may also play that role here in Houston. The front office is pleased with this acquisition feeling he can be an important piece to the bullpen. “Quite frankly, we love Biagini,” Luhnow said. “We think he’s got a chance to get some important outs for us the rest of the season.”