Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette is lighting the Gulf Coast League on fire

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Aug 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; National third baseman Bo Bichette (19) runs the bases on his way to a triple against the American team during the fifth inning in the Under Armour All America Baseball game at Wrigley field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; National third baseman Bo Bichette (19) runs the bases on his way to a triple against the American team during the fifth inning in the Under Armour All America Baseball game at Wrigley field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays selected Bo Bichette in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft

Bo Bichette’s name stands out from the Blue Jays early picks in the 2016 MLB Draft. Surrounded by a heavy dose of college selections, the 18-year-old Bichette is a younger upside play, and through 17 games with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, he’s been the hottest hitter in the entire organization.

Bichette was ranked by several scouting services slightly higher than his draft slot of 66th overall, but he told the Tampa Bay Times that the Blue Jays were his target.

“The Blue Jays were the top team that I wanted to go to,” he said. “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.”

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Scouts have pinpointed the many moving parts in Bichette’s swing as a potential weakness, one that could hinder his bat speed against inside pitches, but his early results have been massive.

Bichette is hitting .418 in 67 at-bats with a .716 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.156. To go along with his seven doubles, two triples, and three home runs, Bichette has 31 RBI. Yes, 31 RBI in his first 17 games.

On Twitter Saturday, prospect evaluator Chris King called Bichette “easily best bat I’ve seen this year and having the most impact of any bat I’ve ever seen at this level.”

Long-term, it’s very possible that Bichette’s profile mirrors that of his father Dante Bichette, a four-time All-Star with limited defence who hit 274 home runs. The younger Bichette’s bat is his strongest tool, and is playing up already, but the glove will be his ticket to real value as he eventually begins to climb the ladder towards the mid-minors.

Bichette’s presence also gives the Blue Jays the potential for something that they have been lacking in quantity for years: top positional prospects. Rowdy Tellez is now leading the way with a big season, and alongside shortstop Richard Urena, the Blue Jays have a rare pair of middle-infield prospects with power upside.

It’s possible that Bichette profiles better at second base or third base, but at just 18 years old, there is plenty of time for patience with his positional fit and growth. Through the first few weeks, though, regardless of the extremely small sample size, it’s going as well as the Blue Jays could have hoped.

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