Blue Jays: Bo Bichette carries Jays to top 10 spot on FanGraphs' shortstop rankings
FanGraphs ranks the Toronto Blue Jays in the top 10 of its Shortstop Positional Power Rankings heading into the 2023 season. There's one player responsible for keeping the Jays in contention at the deepest position in the league.
If you missed it, we previously reviewed the power rankings for catcher, first base and second base.
FanGraphs ranks the Blue Jays seventh. This may seem low, considering how good of a hitter Bo Bichette has proven himself to be, but shortstop has legit superstars all over the league.
The list is headed up by possibly the best player in baseball, Trea Turner and his first-place 5.7 WAR. The other shortstops ahead of Bichette and the Jays are Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Wander Franco, Corey Seager and Xander Bogaerts. Not exactly a list to sneeze at.
FanGraphs projects the Blue Jays to carry a 4.6 WAR at short this season. Most of that is thanks to Bichette's 4.4 WAR, with Santiago Espinal and Addison Barger(?!) possibly chipping in small contributions.
Let's be realistic, though; they'll have to drag Bo off the field to give anyone else time at short this year. He's played 148 and 157 games in the field in the past two seasons.
As Ben Clemens notes, and Blue Jays fans are well aware, Bichette "spent most of last season looking awful."
While Bichette's projections take into account his aggressiveness, and resulting inconsistency, at the plate, there's reason for optimism in 2023. Bichette recently told Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling that he knows who he is now after last September's torrid performance. You remember the one. When he, almost single-handled, carried the team to the top Wild Card spot.
"I always knew that I was a good player. I was just trying too hard to show everybody who that player is. Instead of just being that player. And in September, I wasn’t worried about looking a certain way for anybody. I wasn't trying to prove myself to anybody. I didn't really care. I was just out there competing as best I could. Wanting to beat the pitcher every time I went out there. I wasn't trying to force it. I was just being myself."- Bo Bichette, via Arden Zwelling
Bichette's bat helps him maintain a high replacement level value despite being one of the weakest defenders at the position. His defense has been suspect, bordering on cringeworthy at times, but that makes his abilities at the plate that much more impressive.
Clemens sums the situation up nicely, arguing that when "you hit like Bichette, the other stuff just matters less."