After a bit of a slow start by his standards, Bo Bichette is really starting to heat up at the plate, and reminding people why he’s the #2 prospect for the Blue Jays.
For the first couple months of this baseball season, all any Blue Jays fans wanted to talk about was Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and his inevitable ascent to the big leagues. There was plenty of good reason for that with the way he performed before getting hurt, but his ridiculous success at Double-A buried another potential storyline for one of his teammates.
After being a Batman and Robin duo across two levels of Single-A last season, Guerrero was leaving Bo Bichette in the dust as far as prospect development.
Now don’t get me wrong, Bichette hasn’t been bad at any point this season, but rather was a far cry from the superstar in the making we watched last year. He hit .289/.360/.422 in 21 games in April, and followed it up by hitting .256/.336/.452 in May. Again, those aren’t bad numbers at all, but after hitting .362/.423/.565 across two levels last season, some people wondered if he was stalling a bit with the latest promotion.
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To be fair, Bichette is still only just 20 years old, so it’s more than understandable if he needs some time to adjust to a new level. Unfortunately for the talented shortstop, Guerrero looked like he was playing a video game on “rookie level” in Double-A, and Bichette has been unfairly lumped in with his teammate. The fact that they have been twice promoted together and sit at #1 and #2 on the Blue Jays top prospects list definitely ties them together as well.
With Guerrero on the sidelines nursing an injured knee, the constant cries for his promotion to the big leagues have finally subsided, at least for now. However, don’t be surprised if Bichette’s name starts coming up with more regularity, especially now that he’s looking like the 2017 version at the plate.
Bichette has slashed .339/.395/.557 over his last thirty games, and is starting to show more power at the dish as well, hitting five long balls during that time. He’s up to 18 doubles on the season, and he’s also swiped 12 bases in the last 28 games as well, getting caught just twice.
The former second round pick has also reportedly made strides on the defensive side of the ball, despite making 15 errors in 70 games played thus far. It’s also looking like the Blue Jays are more confident in his ability to stick as a shortstop, as he’s played just two games at second base to 68 as the infield captain.
So while he may not have been keeping up with Vladdy Jr. in the early part of the season, that’s not exactly a bar that we should expect anyone to reach. It’s encouraging to see that after a slight hiccup (if .289 for April as a 20 year old in Double-A is a hiccup), that the Orlando, Florida native has made some adjustments and is back to his elite hitting ways. The average is up, the power is coming along, and he’s generally putting fear into the hearts of Eastern League pitchers.
I don’t know if the Blue Jays would entertain a September call-up for Bichette this year, but it’s far more likely than we’ll see him make his big league debut sometime next year, assuming he continues to perform well. He won’t be 21 until March of 2019, so the youngster has a ton of time and there is absolutely no reason to rush his development.
That said, don’t expect this talented young man to be too far behind the Batman to his Robin in the Blue Jays’ minor league system. It didn’t take him that long to figure out Double-A pitching, and it won’t be long before he’s beyond it and ready for a new challenge.