If Lourdes Gurriel Jr. isn’t going to be the shortstop of the future in Toronto, there’s a good chance that job will eventually fall to Bo Bichette. By most scouting reports he’s expected to arrive in the big leagues sometimes in 2019, but that will depend on a lot of factors.
To be fair, Bichette hasn’t played a single game at Triple-A yet, and it’s likely the Blue Jays will want him to experience that level for a while and prove he’s ready for the big leagues. He was quietly excellent last season with a line of .286/.343/.453 with 43 doubles in New Hampshire in 2018, but some people were a little underwhelmed with his performance for two reasons.
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The first is because Bichette hit a staggering .384 in Lansing in 2017, and finished the year with a slash line of .362/.423/.565 between Low and High-A. His performance had the baseball world talking even as he was just 19 years old at the time, and while he was impressive in 2018, he wasn’t quite the same world-beater he’d been a year before. To be fair, that’s a pretty unfair standard to live up to.
And speaking of unfair standards to live up to, some people forget how good Bichette was last year because of the performance of Vlad Guerrero Jr. The two of them dominated in Lansing together in 2017 and were both promoted to Dunedin at the same time that season. They were a dynamic duo at both levels, and unfortunately they were separated last season. That was necessitated by Guerrero’s ridiculous performance at the plate, but that shouldn’t be held against Bichette at all.
For now, Bichette will not only have to prove that he’s ready to surpass the Triple-A in pretty short order, but the Blue Jays would also have to find playing time for him in a potentially crowded infield picture. That could change with injuries and/or another trade or two of course, but Galvis’ signing makes Bichette’s chances of playing in Toronto this year a little less likely. It’s possible the Blue Jays would prefer he spend a full season in Buffalo anyway, but Atkins did mention that the front office hopes Bichette “forces their hand”, so here’s hoping that’s how they really feel.
By no means am I meaning to pain Freddy Galvis’ signing with a negative brush, but he’s a talented enough player that his presence will have a trickle down effect on others within the organization, at least in the short term. I still expect that Gurriel Jr. will get a fair share of opportunity at shortstop, and hopefully he’ll force the organization’s hand in the same way that Atkins is hoping Bichette will. If not, they’ve got Galvis on board to serve as a fall back plan.