The Blue Jays’ second round draft pick, 66th overall, was ranked as Baseball America’s number 46 prospect
Bo Bichette and the Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to terms on a contract, and according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, it took a slight over-slot payment to lock up the high school infielder.
Bichette does fit the profile of an over-slot candidate given his talent and lower-than-expected landing spot. Speaking with the Tampa Bay Times after being selected, Bichette said that he’d actually passed up on a handful of other offers earlier in the draft.
“The Blue Jays were the top team that I wanted to go to,” Bichette told Rodney Page. “They were the best as far as player development. I may end up taking a little less (in signing bonus), but this is the best fit. I actually turned down about four offers earlier in the draft because they weren’t good fits.”
With the defensive potential to stay in the infield (second and third base are both options) and enticing raw power potential – Bichette hit .569 with 13 home runs as a senior – the 18-year-old could quickly become one of Toronto’s must-watch prospects in short-season ball.
His familiarity with the Blue Jays goes well beyond his leg kick, too. Bichette and Troy Tulowitzki got to know each other when his father was coaching with the Rockies, and have stayed in touch since. This past offseason, Bichette spent time hitting with Tulowitzki, Ryan Goins, and Kevin Pillar.
“Bo is special,” Pillar told MLB.com. “He was hitting balls harder and farther than we were in the cage. … Tremendous talent. He obviously comes from a tremendous baseball family with his dad and brother. The future looks bright for him.”
Tulowitzki was also quick to reach out. “He texted me and said, ‘Hopefully we can be turning double plays before I’m done playing,” Bichette said.
Toronto did target a high number of college-aged players, especially in the early rounds, who are typically less likely to require an over-slot deal. Paying close to $125,000 over slot value is not a drastic hit to the Blue Jays, but their big-picture draft strategy allows for some contract flexibility over the coming days.