3 Blue Jays players who will maintain their hot starts and 1 who won't
With the Toronto Blue Jays now 18 games into the 2023 season, there is still plenty of time for overreactions to early season performances, both good and bad. While the team has been on a rollercoaster ride en route to an 11-7 record, some individual performances in the early going have stood out for all the right reasons.
The question is, will these hot starts stick for the rest of the year, or are they just short-term apparitions that will fade in the dog days of summer?
Will he maintain his start? Yes
Bo Bichette has started 2023 where he left off in 2022, scorching hot at the plate.
The All-Star shortstop has played in all 18 games, hitting .372/.402/.577 with four home runs, 12 RBI and 11 runs scored. More impressive, he has struck out only 10 times in 82 plate appearances.
In the first five months of 2022, he struck out in almost a quarter of his at-bats, at a 24.3% clip. In September, he dropped that strikeout rate to a more modest 14.1%.
With his naturally aggressive approach at the dish, you'd be forgiven for expecting the other shoe to drop and the strikeout rate to climb back up. Don't hold your breath. With a full offseason and training camp, Bichette has refined his approach at the plate even more since the end of last year when he found himself and began terrorizing opposing pitchers. This year his strikeout rate is an impressive 12.2%.
So, the 25-year-old who led the American League in hits in each of the past two seasons is now even better with the bat. It's unsurprising, then, that Bichette is tied for the major league lead in hits with 29.
How can we be sure that he'll maintain the hot start? Just look at his spray chart. He's hitting balls to the opposite field at a 44% clip, 10 points above his career rate. Those strikeouts have turned into hits to right field.
Sure, Bichette will slump at some point, but if he maintains this approach, he'll be unstoppable over the balance of the season.