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NWL notes: Biggio paving his own path

Son of Hall of Famer Craig collecting hits in bunches with Vancouver
July 8, 2016

The name Biggio resonates strongly throughout the baseball world. It's connected to seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger awards, four Gold Gloves, one World Series appearance and 20 seasons of Major League service.

That may be why heads turned last month when 21-year-old Cavan Biggio was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft. All of those aforementioned accolades belong to his father, Craig.

But already, after posting a .340 batting average and four doubles in just 14 games, the Vancouver Canadians infielder is giving baseball fans a reason to remember his first name, and not just his last.

"Growing up playing baseball I have always been labeled as Craig Biggio's son. But as I pave my way in my own career I am getting noticed for my talents as Cavan," Biggio said.

Biggio, the son of the 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, wasted little time nudging the family spotlight in his direction. After an 0-for-3 showing in his professional debut, the Notre Dame product went a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI before a crowd of 5,031 at Nat Bailey Stadium in Canada.

"I felt like I had some good at-bats in the first game but didn't have anything to show for it. But the second game I got a few good pitches to hit and put good swings on them and found some holes," Biggio said. "It was definitely good to get some hits early in the season, and from that point on you just have to keep the ball rolling in a positive direction."

Biggio did just that, collecting at least one hit in five of his next six games and has compiled four multi-hit games in his first 14. Through Wednesday, his team-high .340 batting average ranked fourth in the Northwest League.

"I've just been trying to be aggressive early in the count and looking for good pitches to hit. That, and just focusing on getting on base," Biggio said. "I'm working to keep things really simple and having fun up there at the plate."

His father, who has a freshly cemented plaque resting at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, hasn't yet made a trip over to the West Coast to watch his son play professionally -- that will happen in August. Still, it hasn't stopped the father/son combo from talking shop.

"If I have any questions about a certain game or at-bat or pretty much anything general in terms of the baseball lifestyle, I can go to him," Biggio said. "I'm very fortunate to have him as a resource in my life. He's always there for me whenever I have questions."

It's no secret that the younger Biggio has benefited from his father's guidance as he's developed into a professional athlete. But he's adamant that the name doesn't always guarantee success in between the foul lines.

"My dad and I are two different players with two different styles of play," Cavan said. "It's almost unfair to compare me to him because I'm my own player."

Through 14 games, he's showing us the type of player he might become.

In brief

X marks the spot: After starting the season 7-for-34 from the plate (.206 batting average) following an 0-for-15 stretch, Spokane third baseman Xavier Turner is back on track. The second-year pro was 12-for-22 (.545 average) with a homer, three doubles and six RBIs in his last five contests. Through Wednesday, he ranked fifth in the NWL with a .339 average.

Everett erupting: Through 20 games, the Everett AquaSox were asserting themselves as one of the premier offensive teams in the NWL. Everett ranked first in the league in RBIs (104), third in home runs (11), tied for third in total bases (257), tied for first in on-base percentage (.346), second in slugging percentage (.372) and second in batting average (.268). The AquaSox, who also lead the league with 119 total runs, have plated at least five runs in 12 of their 20 contests.

Ferguson feeling it: Spokane pitcher Tyler Ferguson struck out a season-high six batters in 3 2/3 innings in his most recent outing Wednesday, marking the fourth time in seven games this season that he has struck out at least five opposing hitters. Ferguson, who owns an impressive 29-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 1/3 innings this season, was ranked first in the NWL in punchouts.

Brandon Chinn is a contributor to MiLB.com.