The Blue Jays should see an even greater influx of young talent coming in 2019, possibly including the likes of Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.
It’s no secret that the Blue Jays are finally working towards getting younger and more athletic, as they are in the beginning stages of a rebuild to their roster. We saw several moves made to that end before the trade deadline last season, and with a talented farm system on the way things are going to be a lot different in Toronto.
The Blue Jays are expected to start the season with young faces likes Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, and eventually Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who should be promoted a few weeks after the beginning of the season, if he doesn’t start the year with the team. There are plenty of others who could break camp with the team as well depending on what the Blue Jays do between now and Opening Day, including Reese McGuire, Billy McKinney, Thomas Pannone, Sean Reid-Foley, and maybe more.
The full transformation to the new era of this team might take another season or two, but the Blue Jays are getting younger really quickly, and given the youthful talent on the way that should be a good thing. Especially because I haven’t even mentioned several of the other highly rated prospects in the system, including two players who could make their debut in 2019 in Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
By now you’ve had to have heard of these two if you’ve been following the Blue Jays at all over the last year or two, but if not here’s a quick recap.
Bichette is the #2 ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system, the son of former big league slugger Dante Bichette, and a talented shortstop who could be a true star. In 2017, I commonly referred to him as the “Robin” to Vlad Jr’s “Batman”, as the two of them took Low and High-A by storm. The dynamic duo quickly shot up the Blue Jays prospect rankings and had fans excited before either of them had even turned 20 years old. While Vlad may have taken some bigger leaps in 2018, that doesn’t mean that Bichette had a bad season by any means.
Bichette played 131 games in Double-A and slashed .286/.343/.553 with a whopping 43 doubles, 11 home runs, and 74 RBI, also adding 32 stolen bases for good measure as well. He was originally scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League with the other Blue Jay youngsters, but he and the team ultimately decided rest would be of greater benefit after a long season.
As if his performance wasn’t impressive enough, Biggio sorta stole the show by winning the Eastern League MVP. He is also the son of a former big league in Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, and slashed an impressive .252/.388/.499 in 132 games, hitting 26 home runs, 23 doubles, 99 RBI, and adding 20 stolen bases as well.
Biggio spent the 2018 season playing a mixture of third, second, and first base, but he’s also recently added the outfield to his defensive repertoire with his work in the Arizona Fall League. He’ll likely need some further polishing out there, but he performed well this fall and seems ready for whatever the club throws at him. According to a recent piece from John Lott of the Athletic, and Blue Jays’ head of player development Gil Kim, “he’s got the athletic ability and the baseball acumen to do that effectively.”
There’s no doubt that the two of them will make their way to the big leagues in the near future, but it’s hard to say when that will be exactly. Right now the Blue Jays really don’t have room for them on their big league roster. They could make room of course, but they are still in the process of their rebuild, and there’s no major need to rush either player to the big leagues, especially without having had the experience of Triple-A yet. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of them in a Blue Jay uniform before the 2019 season is over.
Which one of them will we see in Toronto first? That depends on a lot of things of course, including how they perform in Triple-A at the beginning of the season (I assume both will start there), health, and opportunity. The third part is the only one that we can really predict, but even then there are several variables that will factor into the equation. For example, Bichette has competition in the middle infield with Gurriel Jr., Devon Travis, Brandon Drury, Richard Urena, Troy Tulowitzki (if healthy), and Yangervis Solarte (if he’s not DFA’d). That logjam won’t exist forever, but that’s what we’re looking at for the current moment.
The same situation applies to Bichette, but he has the added versatility of playing third base, and his new experience in the outfield. The hot corner will be locked down by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for at least 2019 I would think, but the outfield could be an intriguing option for Biggio, and I’m glad that the organization explored it during the AFL short season.
He’ll have to leapfrog several options out there as well, including McKinney, Randal Grichuk, Kevin Pillar, Teoscar Hernandez, an possibly several others. I expect the outfield to be the most “open” of any competition in the next season or two though, which could work in Biggio’s favour when it comes to getting promoted. With his potential hitting ability it’s hard to say if the Blue Jays will eventually favour giving him one locked position, but for now he looks like a potentially valuable utility piece at the very least.
For that reason, I’m going to guess that Biggio gets the big league call before Bichette, He’ll also be 24 next season to Bichette’s 21, which doesn’t hurt either, although doesn’t ultimately matter. I’m by no means saying that I think that Biggio is going to be better than Bichette, and I recognize the difference in their rankings in the organization, but that hardly matters when it comes to getting promoted. It’s also possible (gulp) that the Blue Jays may prefer to let Bichette play a full season in Triple-A and retain an additional year of service time as well, but time will tell on that sort of thing.
Regardless, the Blue Jays should be thrilled with the young talent they have in house, and should look forward to a bright future in Toronto, even if the rebuild might be a little tough to swallow in the short term.