With all the hype surrounding other Blue Jays prospects and a broken hand delaying his arrival in the MLB, Bo Bichette was just another cog in the prospect machine; until he arrived in the North.
It was a hot day on July 29 in Kansas City, Missouri when Bo Bichette stepped into the batter’s box for the first time, wearing a crisp grey Blue Jays uniform with number 11 stitched on the back.
His father, All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette, was sitting in the stands along with the rest of the Bichette family.
After a slow start in AAA and an inside fastball that broke a bone in his glove hand, Bo was putting up solid numbers for the Buffalo Bisons, crafting a .275 AVG along with 8 home runs and 32 RBI.
He knew he was ready for the big leagues and made sure the media, as well as the front office, knew about it. The fans wanted him on the roster to officially go all-in on the rebuild.
There just wasn’t any room or playing time for him until the Sogard trade.
Once he arrived in Kansas City, he started hitting the ball in a way that made the Blue Jays front office look like fools for not calling him up sooner.
He would go 1 for 4 in his first game against the Royals, and through his first 10 games, he had slashed an incredible .409/.458/.795 along with 3 home runs and 8 doubles.
His first home run would come in Kansas City 2 games after his debut. The dinger to left-centre field almost landed in the water fountain and made fans feel better about the rebuilding process.
While Bichette has been swinging a hot bat in the lineup, he also fills a void left by the Sogard trade: a prominent leadoff hitter.
Bichette’s speed, eye at the plate, and ability to hit to all parts of the ballpark make him an ideal leadoff candidate, a role that has cumulated in a .333 AVG, 7 home runs, and an MLB record for most doubles hit consecutively at 9 games.
He has a smart approach at the plate, but also explodes with his swing through the batter’s box; a batting stance that looks like Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson had a lovechild back in the glory years of the mid-2010s.
What makes Bichette so impressive is not just his stats at the plate, but also his speed on the base-paths and his defensive ability.
For a rookie, he looks very comfortable at SS, handling hard-hit balls well and turning double plays with a fluid motion that looks like clockwork with 2nd baseman Cavan Biggio.
He does have 4 errors in just 21 games, which may seem a bit alarming for an MLB shortstop, but playing every day should improve this stat as he continues to get continuous reps at SS.
He explodes out of the batter’s box, his long strides and hair flowing in the wind as he rounds 1B for another double. Bo has made some baserunning mistakes in his young career, but there is certainly a lot of upside to the running game and one that will compliment him well in the leadoff spot.
To be completely honest, I also like his aggressiveness on the base-path, one that could be useful in a hit & run scenario or close plays at the plate when he’s on second.
Bo Bichette was one of the last prospect puzzle pieces for the rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays when it came to position players in the organization.
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While some pitching prospects are a year or two away from playing on the active roster, the promotion of Bichette to Toronto signaled that the Blue Jays are focused on developing their position prospects at the major league level.
What you see on the field now will most likely be what you see on the diamond for the foreseeable future (except for Justin Smoak, who will probably be gone after this year), and Bichette is currently impressing even with his limited exposure in the league.
The big test for Bo Bichette will be when he plays more games and other teams start to get more video on the speedy shortstop. He will have to be able to keep hitting at the plate when major league pitchers start to develop a more sophisticated game plan for attacking the right-hander.
Given that his first taste in the big leagues has been very successful, fans are excited to see the 21-year-old prove his worth on the roster and contribute both offensively and defensively.
For right now, the position prospects for the Blue Jays have entered the testing battleground and Bo Bichette leads the charge at the #1 spot in the batting order.
The new King of the North has arrived for his throne.