Blue Jays fans are well aware of Bo Bichette's issues on defence this year in respect of costly errors. He has no such issues on offence, and has actually been turning a major corner at shortstop as well.
Most sports fans of a certain vintage will be familiar with the 'Bo knows' advertising campaign starring Bo Jackson, in the late 80s and early 90s. Shamelessly ripping this off, Toronto's version is a case of 'Bo knows hits'.
Bichette has the distinction of being the AL hits leader for the past two years. Effectively a third of the way through the 2023 campaign, he's well on his way to doing it again this season.
Taking his hitting to another level
In fact, the 2021 All-Star may well end up leading the majors as a whole at his current rate. Entering the day, he has 76 hits, six ahead of his nearest competitor (and 13 ahead of his closest AL challenger).
Bichette is hitting better than ever, with him on course to have 232 hits by season's end at his current pace. For context, he had 191 and 189 hits in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
By extension, the 25-year-old is projected to set a host of single-season career highs. This would include home runs, RBI, batting average, OBP and of course hits.
Unsurprisingly, Bichette leads the Blue Jays in most hitting categories. (We'll forgive him for this not including doubles and triples.)
The latest example of how much the Orlando, Florida native means to the Blue Jays came on Saturday, albeit in a losing cause. His team-leading three hits in a 9-7 loss to the Twins resulted in four RBI, tied for the second-most of his five-year major league career.
Can Bichette keep it going?
There will be those who suggest Bichette cannot keep up this level of offensive consistency for an entire season. His productivity the past two years would seem to counter this argument.
Regardless, there is no denying the 2016 second round draft pick is in a zone right now and hitting the ball as confidently as at any time in his career. Even a slight drop in productivity would still seem him in the running to yet again lead the AL in hits.
Bichette entered the season inspired, after avoiding salary arbitration and agreeing a three-year, $33.6 million deal. He's playing so well though, that there is already talk of negotiation another contract extension.
From a historical perspective, the right-handed bat set a new club record in April, reaching 500 hits in 407 games. The previous record was held by Vernon Wells and Shannon Stewart, who both achieved the feat in 432 games.
It's still too soon to think about Bichette chasing down Tony Fernandez's all-time record of 1583 hits. However, this doesn't take away from the reality he is currently the Blue Jays' most effective bat, which is an impressive accolade given the offensive talent on this team.