At the end of last month, the Houston Astros designated former SF Giants pitching prospect for assignment.
After clearing waivers, the former SF Giants prospect had a chance to stick with the Astros but has chosen free agency instead.
Since the right-handed reliever had over three years of service time, he had the option to elect for free agency after being removed from the 40-man roster. This seemed likely as it would allow Biagini to pursue opportunities outside of the Astros organization.
The Giants originally drafted Biagini out of UC Davis in the 26th round of the 2011 draft. I should add that the fact that a 26th rounder made it to the majors is an impressive accomplishment in and of itself. Players selected that late really need to open some eyes early in their professional careers.
If the name Joe Biagini sounds familiar to Bay Area sports fans, it is because he grew up in Redwood City, California. Furthermore, he attended The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale and the College of San Mateo in (you guessed it) San Mateo.
After being drafted, Biagini made a deliberate ascent through the Giants farm system. The highest level he reached with San Francisco was in 2015 when he played for their Double-A affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels. In that year, he posted a 2.42 ERA with 84 strikeouts across 130.1 innings.
However, his time with the Giants came to an end shortly after that. The Toronto Blue Jays plucked the right-hander away in the Rule 5 draft in December of 2015.
As a Rule 5 draftee, not only did Biagini make the Blue Jays roster out of Spring Training in 2016, but he put together a promising rookie campaign. In 67.2 innings, Biagini produced a 3.06 ERA (2.95 FIP) while being worth 0.9 WAR.
However, that rookie season has been the highlight of his career so far. Since the start of 2017, Biagini has struggled to the tune of a 5.59 ERA in 161 games.
In fact, the Astros left him off of the 2020 playoff roster and placed him on waivers after he yielded 10 runs in four appearances in 2020.
Now, the 30-year-old is set to test free agency for the first time in his career. Teams, such as the Giants, seem to always be in an endless pursuit of pitching depth.
Given his struggles in recent seasons, I doubt he will receive a guaranteed contract, but he should receive get a Spring Training invite.
Either way, Biagini has beaten the odds to make it this far. A trip through free agency should help him find a good match.