With an impressive performance last night in Buffalo, Bo Bichette is cementing his role as the Blue Jays most productive player at the dish.
In a heart breaking loss, in which the Blue Jays came back from an early 8-0 Marlins lead to tie the game at 11 in the bottom of the 8th, only to lose the game in extra innings 14-11, Bo Bichette had arguably his best offensive performance to date.
Bichette went 5 for 5, with an RBI, a home run, three runs scored, two stolen bases, and a walk. This marked the first time in the modern era that a shortstop had been on base six times, stolen two bases, and hit a dinger all in one game. He is also the youngest player in team history to have five hits in one game. His home run in the bottom of the 8th brought the Blue Jays within a run and was followed up by a back-to-back bomb by Travis Shaw to tie the game.
All of this came a night after he went 1 for 4 with 3 RBIs, a home run, and a walk. His home run helped propel the Blue Jays to their first win at their ‘Home away from home’ ball park at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. Technically it was their first home win of the season since they played two home games while on the road in Washington and lost them both.
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Bichette has long played second fiddle to Vlad Guerrero in the Blue Jays organization, but I contest that is no longer the case. Since arriving on the big club, Bichette has done nothing but out perform everyone on the team offensively. He currently leads the Blue Jays this season in Runs, Runs Batted In, Stolen Bases, Batting Average, Slugging, On Base Percentage, wOBA, wRC+, Barrels, Barrel Rate and WAR among Blue Jays with 30 plate appearances. He’s also tied for 2nd in Home Runs with Cavan Biggio behind Teoscar Hernandez.
Through 58 games in his career, Bichette has batted .320/.386/.648 with 22 doubles, 15 Home Runs, 31 RBI, and eight SB for a 150 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR. I hate doing this because of the fluctuations of a season of baseball, but prorated over a full 162, those numbers would look like 62 doubles, 42 home runs, 87 RBI, 22 SB and 6.9 fWAR. He has been absolutely incredible.
Bichette’s defence has some room for improvement of course, but let’s remember he hasn’t completed a full season in the majors just yet so we need to be a little patient. I do not have any concrete evidence to point to, but it does appear that he is improving defensively just from the eye test. His range, ball transfers, and timing all seem to be improved. Maybe I am seeing what I want to see, but let hope not. Also, it is also too early to rely on defensive metrics on this season as there isn’t a large enough sample size to go off of. I do not expect him to become Ozzie Smith out there, but if he becomes an above average defender I’ll take it, especially with his offensive contribution. Derek Jeter was never a good defender, but that is a fact that is often overlooked because he was so good with the bat.
I predict that Bichette will be our most valuable position player for years to come. I believe he will be far more valuable than Vlad Guerrero Jr. over their time with the Blue Jays. He plays the most demanding infield position and is arguably the most offensive player on the team already. Vlad could and should be just as good, if not better, at the dish, but he will most likely draw all of his value from the plate. Bo has the ability to derive value from his base running, defence, and his offence. If he can consistently put up 4+ WAR seasons, he could become one of the best Blue Jays of all-time.
Just this week, Baseball America, has ranked the Blue Jays farm system as the 4th best of the 30 organizations with the additions of Austin Martin and CJ Van Eyk. That is even after the promotions off the prospect list within the last year, of Bichette, Guerrero, Biggio, Jansen, and McGuire. The future is bright for the Blue Jays and Bichette is leading the way.