Blue Jays: Bo Bichette in search of franchise hits record
Only five times in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise has a player ever been able to eclipse the 200 hit plateau in a single season. The last player to do so was Vernon Wells 20 years ago in 2003 when he set the team record with 215.
Despite leading the American League in hits in each of the last two seasons, Bo Bichette has fallen just short of the mark after collecting 191 hits in 2021 and then 189 last year. Now entering the prime years of his career, experience on his side and a secured contract for the next three years he has several advantages. It's not unreasonable to see the Florida native take a run at becoming just the sixth player in Blue Jays' history to accomplish this feat.
Bichette is now into his fifth season with the Blue Jays, but because of COVID it is just the third time he is set to play an entire 162-game season. When you combined the first month of the season over the previous two years, he has posted a .237 batting average compared to his overall career .297 number. In 2022, despite having a worrisome start to the season when he went just 20-for-94 (.213) over the first month of the season, he was still able to finish the year off with 189 hits.
The 2023 season is only 10 games old and the former second-round pick is already just three hits shy of his April total from a year ago with 18 games left to play in the month. During the opening road trip, Bichette amassed hits in nine of those 10 games, with five of them being multi-hit games including a three and four hit game. In total, Bichette is 17-for-47 with five extra-base hits, which equates to a slash line of .362/.400/.596.
10 games cannot tell you what an entire season will amount to. However, over the last two seasons, Bichette has averaged 1.194 hits per game and has played 159 games in both years. If he is able to hit at the pace he did over the last two seasons, he would finish with around 178 base knocks through his next 149 games, which would put him at 195 hits for the year. While the number does leave the second generational major leaguer shy of 200, what he has shown over his career is that he gets hotter as the season goes on. Through the months from July through October, Bichette has a .306 average which shows his hits per game average increases over this time frame.
Bichette is now 25-years of age and entering into the prime of his career with over 400 games of major league experience under his belt. If he can progress through the season similar to his past performances, accompanied by the hot start to this year, the two-time American League hits leader won’t just take a run at joining the franchise 200-hit club, but he could have a legitimate shot at setting a new franchise record.